24 February 2016
Ben Simmons has been named the 2015 AIS Sport Performance Awards (ASPAs) Emerging Athlete of the Year at a gala awards event at The Star, Sydney.
The award was accepted by his sister Melissa on the night as Ben is currently playing in the USA with Louisiana State University (LSU).
“Winning an award like this is exciting for Ben as it is recognition in Australia for his basketball achievements to date but also because the emerging athletes are nominated from all sports not just his basketball peers, Melissa said.
“Ben is a proud Aussie and it means a lot to him that people back home are following his basketball journey.
“Ben has been playing basketball since he could walk at 10 months old. Growing up he loved playing whether that was one on one in the driveway or starting out on his first team in Newcastle.
“He has played both Rugby League and Australian Rules football but basketball was always the sport he was most passionate about, growing up in a basketball family I am not sure he had much choice.”
Touted as the No. 1 pick in June’s NBA draft, Ben had an outstanding 2015, graduating from Montverde Academy and earning selection in the 2015 All American Game.
Ben received several high-profile awards including the USA High School Player of the Year and was selected in the World Team for the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit.
After joining Louisiana State University in July he was awarded the Southeastern Conference Preseason Player of the Year and named on the Associated Press preseason All-America team.
In 2012 Ben attended the much vaunted AIS basketball program training in the same squad as Dante Exum.
Basketball represented in two other awards with Matthew Dellavedova a finalist in the ABC Sports Personality of the Year and Andrew Bogut features as a finalist in the Best Sporting Moment category for winning the NBA Championship ironically against Delly.
About 300 of Australia’s sporting personalities gathered for the second annual ASPAs.
AIS Sport Performance Awards winners
• David Pocock (ABC Sports Personality of the Year) – Public vote
• Australian Diamonds (Destination NSW Team of the Year) – Public vote
• Jason Day (2XU Male Athlete of the Year)
• Emily Seebohm (Berlei Female Athlete of the Year)
• Australian Diamonds, Women’s Team Pursuit, cycling (Gatorade Team of the Year)
• Michelle Payne (Lion, The Complete Dairy Sporting Moment of the Year) – Media vote
• Ben Simmons (Nestle Emerging Athlete of the Year)
• Alistair Donohoe (Dairy Australia Para Performance of the Year)
• Michael Bohl (Melbourne Business School Coach of the Year)
• Mark Anderson (Melbourne Business School Award for Leadership)