He‘d have been an AFL star
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