Kevin Boyle will lose Dakari Johnson, Kasey Hill and Devin Williams to college next year, but the Montverde (Fla.) Academy coach is adding a 2015 star in Ben Simmons, a 6-foot-8 small forward from the Australian Institute of Sport in Melbourne.
“Ben Simmons, the best player in the world under 18, will be at our school next week,” Boyle told reporters in Wheeling, W.V. Saturday night, according to this video from the Louisville Courier-Journal.
Dave Telep of ESPN.com reported the news Friday, adding that Dave Simmons, Ben’s father and an Oklahoma City, Okla., native, wants his son to attend college in the U.S.
“The primary reason he’s coming to the United States…is to get in college,” Boyle said. “Obviously, you gotta be qualified for the NCAA.”
Boyle joked that he expected Simmons to play in Saturday’s 82-53 rout of Duke-bound Jabari Parker and Chicago Simeon.
“He’s supposed to play [Saturday],” Boyle joked, before adding:
“We’re part of the high school state association in Florida so I don’t even know the state rule on that [whether he is eligible this season].
“I would think it’s probably in his best interests to get comfortable in school and work on academics.”
He added: “If it’s up to me, it would probably be best to wait until the next campaign [2013-14].”
Simmons will join 2014 guard D’Angelo Russell among Montverde’s top players next season.
As for the 6-4 Russell, who put up 21 points in Thursday’s win over Roselle Catholic, Boyle said Ohio State, Indiana, Missouri and Louisville were among those recruiting him the hardest. Russell is a Louisville native, and Boyle said he — Boyle — is a big fan of Louisville coach Rick Pitino.
“He’s definitely a top 10 talent in the country and now if he can match that top 10 intensity, then he’s going to be a big-time player at a big-time school and he’s going in the right direction,” Boyle said.