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Ben Simmons interview: draft quotes




| June 23, 2016

Ben Simmons interview at NBA DraftWith the first pick in the 2016 Draft, the Philadelphia 76ers, as expected, selected Ben Simmons. Here's what Simmons had to say after being drafted:

Ben Simmons: I'm happy to be part of the family now. It's a weight off my chest. I've been looking forward to this day for a while, so I'm glad I've made history, not only for myself but my family and Australian basketball.

Question: Ben, after all the buildup, what does it finally feel like once you heard your name?

Simmons: It honestly feels like all this pressure just has hopped off me. Now I can relax, but now I know where I'm going to be. More importantly, I know where I'm headed and know I can really start working on what I need to work on for the team.

Question: Your message to everyone back at home who's supported you and helped you get to this position?

Simmons: I love everyone who's been supporting me back home in Australia. I'll be back soon, so you guys will know when I'll be back, and looking forward to meeting everyone.

Question: I read that you wanted to be in the NBA since you were seven years old and you accomplished that goal in 12 years. How does that feel? And do you have any advice for kids that want to accomplish their goal?

Simmons: It feels amazing, honestly. I can't even -- my legs were shaking when I was on stage. Anything you want to do, you can do, honestly. I've been wanting to do that since I was five, six, seven, and I've finally accomplished that.

Question: Yesterday in Melbourne, Dante Exum said that he can't wait to match up on you when you start playing in the league. Who's the Australian you most want to match up on?

Simmons: Dante. I'm definitely going at him when we play.

Question: Why is that?

Simmons: We've had rivalries since we were like seven years old. It's kind of weird seeing that relationship change from playing in the backyard to now we're going to be playing in the NBA.

Question: You posted on Instagram the other day, "Trust the process." What inspired you to do that?

Simmons: Sixers. I'm a part of the family now, so you've got to trust it. You've got to go with it and you've got to work hard.

Question: Did you have any sort of understanding of where that phrase came from or what it means?

Simmons: A little bit. A little bit. I know it's been said around a lot of the Sixers' community, so I'm a little bit aware of it.

Question: Lots of young guys in your position have had knock-back setbacks along the way. Did you have any of those, and what would you say to those people now who might have told you, you may not make this?

Simmons: Nothing, honestly. They've seen me make it, so I mean, there's a lot of work that goes into it. There's always going to be people who say you can't do things, but obviously I've worked hard enough to get here, and I'm blessed.

Question: And to the young kids who might be doubting themselves right now, what would you say?

Simmons: You can do anything, honestly. You've just got to put the work in and the time. You've just got to believe in yourself.

Question: You said you now can get to work the things you need to work on. What are some of those things specifically as you want to adapt your game to the NBA?

Simmons: Everything, from eating right to getting my body right for 82 games, to dribbling, to shooting, just everything, ball handling. I think everything really needs to be worked on because you're going to that next level where guys have been in the league for 10-plus years, so they have a lot of experience.

Question: Last year when Jahlil Okafor sat here he said that Joel Embiid and texted him the night before. Has he reached out to you at all?

Simmons: Yeah, he texted me about 30 minutes ago saying "good luck". So yeah, we did talk.

Question: What was it like to share this moment with your mom, your dad and your grandparents from just around the corner here in the Bronx?

Simmons: It's amazing. Seeing my dad play professionally in Australia and my grandpa, he wasn't into sports or anything like that, he just worked hard. And being able to share that with him and see where his son has gone and taken it and having me be here, and having them there is very special to me.

Question: Going to Philadelphia, how much work do you think you're going to have do with the team to get it potentially into the playoffs?

Simmons: A lot of work every day. I think overall it just one of those things that takes time. Question: Seeing as how good you were at LSU at ball handling, when the Sixers met with you did they talk to you being the primary ball handler on the team?

Simmons: Definitely. They know I can play the point forward position and I'm comfortable bringing the ball up, so I think that's one of those things we'll talk about and discuss a lot.

Question: Last year at LSU you had tremendous individual success but not quite the level of team success that you might have liked to have. What did you learn from that experience and what do you think you can bring from that into the NBA?

Simmons: Everything is not going to be perfect. You've got to learn to fight through adversity, the struggles or whatever happens during the season, but you've got to play through it, keep working, and things change. Players get hurt, but you've just got to play through it.

Question: You mentioned your family, your father, your grandfather in the Bronx. How much did their upbringing influence you to getting where you are today?

Simmons: A lot. Dad, he's a hard worker. He's the type of player that was a bruiser. He wasn't finesse or anything like that. We're two completely different players. But I think the way he was raised rubbed off on me a lot.

Question: Curious, what do you remember most about Allen Iverson and Pat's or Geno's cheese steak? Simmons: A lot of people don't know that I actually had a poster of AI when I was young in my room. I was a big diamond-cut poster of him with the braids. But no, I just remember him being one of those point guards, a smaller guy with braids and corn rows and the headbands. I remember I used to have the corn rows when I was younger. He was one of those players that fought every day.

Question: Pat's or Geno's cheese steak? Simmons: Which one did I have? Oh, yeah, cheese steaks. I'm going to try a lot of them. I've got to find my spot, apparently.

Question: You're going to be in the NBA for quite a while. Do you expect we should be having an NBA game in Australia, potentially in Melbourne?

Simmons: I think we should get that done definitely. If I was a kid I'd definitely want to see some NBA players come to Australia, but no, that would be great.

Question: Lots of pressure goes with being the No. 1 pick. Are you ready to handle it, and are you ready to lead this team?

Simmons: Definitely. I'm ready to just put in the work. As long as I'm working as hard as I can, that's all I can really ask of myself.

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