Ben Simmons has become the second Australian to be selected at number one in the NBA Draft following Andrew Bogut’s selection in 2005 while Thon Maker’s selection ensured two Australians were taken in the top ten for the first time ever.
The Philadelphia 76ers took Simmons in one of the most talked-about drafts in recent years, especially in Australia, placing the teenager under the care of ex-Boomers coach Brett Brown.
Maker will play for the Milwaukee Bucks, with the club surprising many by taking him as the tenth overall pick.
It is the first time since 2014 that two Australians have been selected in the same NBA draft.
The son of former NBL star and Melbourne Tigers great Dave Simmons, Ben is blazing a trail of his own having already competed for Australia at the 2012 FIBA Under-17 World Championships as well as at the 2013 FIBA Oceania Championships.
“I’ve made history. Not just for myself but for Australian basketball,” said Simmons.
“I’m the type of player who, you put me in any situation and I’ll make the best of it. I love to handle the ball and facilitate.
“I’m looking forward to getting to Philly.”
Coach Brett Brown was also enthusiastic about Simmons’ selection.
“His gifts are obvious,” Brown said.
“You see a huge upside in him with the work that I know he’s willing to put in.”
Simmons showcased his ability to influence both ends of the court in a season with Louisiana State University and with the weight of expectation on his shoulders, he will be hoping to make an impact on the 76ers who had the worst record in the NBA last season.
Maker, a Sudanese-born Australian, stands at 216cm and after competing in the Australian Junior Championships for NSW Metro, made the move to finish his high schooling in Canada.
Having to prove to the NBA that he graduated officially in 2015 but stayed another year as a post-graduate student by his own choosing, Maker is just the second player in more than a decade to make the leap from high school in North America straight to the draft.
Maker is the first Australian to be selected by Milwaukee since they drafted Bogut in 2005.
He has already indicated that he will play for the Bucks in the upcoming NBA Summer League with the 2016/17 NBA season only 124 days away.