Ben Simmons has been dubbed the wonder from down under by basketball experts who have followed his every move for the past year.
Locally we prefer to call him the wonder from the Thunder after he got his start with Keilor Thunder in the Victorian Junior Basketball League.
Simmons will now call the City of Brotherly Love home after the Philadelphia 76ers used to top pick in the 2016 NBA draft to snare the highly-rated small forward.
It was a dream come true for the 19 year old.
“It’s amazing,” Simmons said. “I’m happy that the Sixers chose me. I’ve been working so hard to get to this point. It’s a great city and I’m looking forward to getting to Philly.”
Simmons, who stands at 2.08 metres and weighs in at 109 kilograms, was the consensus No. 1 pick as soon as he nominated for the draft.
There has been comparisons to his game with a young LeBron James.
Simmons was one of two players in this year’s draft earmarked with superstar potential, with the other being Brandon Ingram, who went to the LA Lakers with the second pick.
So it was no surprise when Simmons was taken so high in the draft.
Simmons went to college this year, where he played with Louisiana State University.
He produced jaw-dropping numbers for the Tigers, averaging 19.1 points, 11.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.9 steals and 0.8 blocks per game.
Those statistics show his all-round potential, both as an offensive threat and a defensive presence.
His athleticism is top notch, his passing ability and finishing in the paint is superb and a willingness to get his hands dirty on defence makes him a two-way player.
If there is a weakness in Simmons’ game, it’s that he is not lethal from beyond the arc, merely because he does not put up many shots from downtown.
Once Simmons reaches his prime, the 76ers will look to put some quality shooters around him and his ability to bring teammates into play will shine.
Simmons is the third Melbourne-born number one draft pick taken in 12 years.
Andrew Bogut was first overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in 2005, while Kyrie Irving went to the Cleveland Cavaliers with the top pick in 2011.
Bogut and Irving have gone on to have successful careers with each winning an NBA title in the past two years.
Simmons is the second former Keilor Thunder junior to be drafted to the NBA.
His teammate Dante Exum was drafted in 2014 by the Utah Jazz with the fifth pick.
Just like Exum, Simmons became an instant millionaire when NBA commissioner Adam Silver read his name out in Brooklyn on Friday.
He will reportedly earn AUD$7.7 million in his first season and that will rise over the next three years of his rookie contract with the inflating salary cap.
Simmons is only the third all-time Sixers No. 1 selection.
He is in illustrious company with the other two being Doug Collins, a three-time All Star, and Allen Iverson, an 11-time All Star and league MVP.
The Sixers were the only NBA team Simmons worked out with prior to the draft.
“It feels good [at Philadelphia], I feel relaxed and I’m comfortable with the system,” he said. “Great coaches, great people and a great young team and I’m looking forward to it.”
Simmons is the son of former Melbourne Tigers star Dave Simmons.
Dave was an NBL All Star in 1990 and a championship winner in 1993.
His number 25 was later retired by the Tigers.
Simmons will be coached by Brett Brown, who coached Dave way back in 1989.
Dave’s advice for his son was simple.
“I think coach Brown is a very passionate coach and loves the sport and is very detailed,” Dave said. “If Ben just follows his lead, I think he’ll do just fine.”
Simmons could feature for the Sixers in the NBA Summer League, starting on July 8.
The 2016-17 NBA season will begin on October 25.