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November 18, 2015

Brett Brown already talking about Ben Simmons, with whom he has personal history

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Brett Brown has developed a lot of cool relationships over his career as a basketball coach, but in one man’s opinion, what defines him most is his connection with Australia. I mean, have you heard that accent before?

While on a trip Down Under in 1987, Brown met his wife Anna and soon after landed a coaching job with Basketball Hall of Famer Lindsay Gaze. With the exception of a one-year stop in San Antonio, he would go on to coach Down Under for 13 of the next 14 years. Later, as an established NBA assistant coach, he took over the reins of the national team from 2009 to 2012.

During his time in Australia, Brown met a bunch of American basketball players who plied their trade in the NBL. Some of those Americans had children that grew up in Australia, and some of those children turned out to be great basketball players.

Dante Exum is one example from a few years ago, and now we have star LSU freshman Ben Simmons. From CSN Philly’s John Finger:

“This is the real story behind it. Ben Simmons is the son of someone I coached for four years,” Brown said. “I was his dad’s assistant coach when I was with the Melbourne Tigers and his mom was the head cheerleader and then here comes Ben Simmons.”

“David Simmons was from Harlem, New York. He could have been a linebacker, he could have been a prize fighter. He was a basketball player more out of athleticism and girth than he was out of finesse and skill. He was a tough, tough 6-8 and hard like an Anthony Mason-type player. His son is finesse and a 3, 1, 4. Really different.”

If you haven’t heard, Ben Simmons is one of the projected top picks in the upcoming NBA Draft. He is a point guard in a swingman’s body:

The Sixers are right on track to acquire one of the top picks in the draft. It seems like Brown wouldn’t mind a reunion with the Simmons family, something Sixers fans would agree with.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann