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Ben Simmons to 'postpone' playing for Australia, will forgo 2016 Rio

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Ben Simmons informed officials for Team Australia on Friday that he will not compete for the country's basketball team in the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

"Ben Simmons will postpone playing with the Australian Olympic team this summer in order to concentrate fully on his NBA activities following the upcoming 2016 NBA draft,'' Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, said in a statement.

"Australian Olympic Team training and competition takes place at the same time as the various NBA summer development programs, and therefore, Ben will look forward to his national team participation at some time later in his career.''

The consensus national freshman of the year, Simmons, 19, is projected to be the top player in the draft. He averaged 19.2 points, 11.8 rebounds and 4.8 assists for LSU. He drew comparisons to Magic Johnson and LeBron James for his passing and court vision.

Despite Simmons' brilliance, the Tigers had a disappointing season and failed to reach the NCAA tournament.

In May, Simmons was one of 26 players named as a candidate for Team Australia. The list included seven NBA players, led by Golden State's Andrew Bogut, San Antonio's Patty Mills and Cleveland's Matthew Dellavedova.

Simmons told Australian team representatives that he is open to playing for the team in the future, perhaps as soon as the summer of 2018.

Simmons was born in Melbourne, Australia, where his dad, David Simmons, starred in the Australian National Basketball League. Ben Simmons lived in Australia until moving to the United States for his final three years of high school at Montverde Academy in Florida.