He‘d have been an AFL star

Sunday Herald Sun - - CRICKET -

HE’S ar­guably the hottest young sport­ing tal­ent on the planet, and it turns out bas­ket­baller (left, and be­low as a ju­nior Aus­tralian Rules player for Bev­er­ley Hills in Mel­bourne’s east) could have been an AFL star, too. The 208cm Sim­mons, 21, a for­ward for the NBA’s Philadel­phia 76ers, played for the Lions’ un­der-13s and un­der-14s in 2008-09. His coach, has no doubt Sim­mons was headed to the AFL with a bul­let. “He and his dad turned up at one of our train­ing ses­sions and said he wanted to play,” said Mezgec, who is now the ju­nior de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer for the Yarra League and coach of its un­der-14 rep­re­sen­ta­tive team. “We had two teams train­ing on the night he came down and when he walked out, ev­ery­one just stopped. He was just 13 but al­ready close to 190cm and he was sen­sa­tional. His ath­leti­cism was ex­tra­or­di­nary but he was also very nat­u­ral with a foot­ball. I ended up play­ing him as a wing­man/ on­baller and he won the Yarra League best-and-fairest.”

Mezgec said it soon be­came ap­par­ent foot­ball was not Sim­mons’ No.1 love.

“By un­der-14s he was start­ing to veer to­wards bas­ket­ball, even though his mum, was keen on him play­ing foot­ball.

“They were good friends with (St Kilda star) Leigh Mon­tagna’s fam­ily. I have no doubt that had he stuck with footy, he’d not only be play­ing AFL but would be a star.

“He would also be the same, hum­ble kid he was with us, some­one who was al­ways more about the team than him­self, which came from his par­ents, who are beau­ti­ful peo­ple. They didn’t miss a game even though they didn’t know a thing about the code. They now live in Philadel­phia but three weeks ago I bumped into Dave in Sor­rento, where they have a hol­i­day home.”

Bev­er­ley Hills has nur­tured AFL stars in­clud­ing and

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