PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Wednesday, October 18th. That is the day Ben Simmons is expected to make his Philadelphia 76ers debut. To say excitement is high, is an understatement.
While most Sixers fans have extreme confidence in the team’s 2016 No. 1 overall pick, no one has more confidence in him than Graham Betchart.
Betchart, Simmons’ mental coach and director of the popular mental health company Lucid, has worked with a number of amazing athletes throughout his career. None, he says, better than Simmons.
“I’ve worked with some pretty good players at this point,” Betchart told 94WIP’s Andrew Porter on his Pulse Of Philly podcast on Friday. “I think Ben’s the best player I’ve ever seen in my life and worked with, and I think he does things on the basketball court that are just kind of mind blowing to me on how well he does it, how big he is. I have supreme confidence that this guy is gonna go down as one of the great basketball players to play.
“Of course, so much has to fall into place with health. But with health falling into place and him having a chance — I sleep through the storms thinking about how Ben’s gonna do in the NBA. I’m not worried at all.”
Simmons missed his entire first year in the NBA after suffering a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot, just before the start of the 2016 preseason. Mentally, Simmons was able to cope with sitting out his first full season in large part due to Betchart’s training.
As an LSU freshman, Simmons had to deal with the criticism of his team constantly losing games and questions about his poor grades from the media. Betchart taught Simmons WIN: What’s Important Now, explaining you have to make peace with what YOU can control. And Simmons did.
“Injury is something that happens and it’s part of the deal as an athlete,” said Betchart. “And you never know how or when it’s going to happen, but it happens. And it hit him before his rookie year. So I feel like he had a really good mind and a mindset to deal with this. Of course, when you’re 20 years old, of course you want to be playing basketball and it’s extremely frustrating. But a lot of our work had already set the stage for him to be able to deal with that.”
Simmons, Joel Embiid, and 2017 No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz now make up a young trio of Sixers that have the potential to formulate something special in Philadelphia.