Four-star point guard Xavier Simpson announced his commitment to Michigan this afternoon. He picked Michigan over Wisconsin, Illinois, Miami, Iowa State, Indiana and others.
Simpson’s recruitment escalated quickly this week as the Wolverines moved on from Cassius Winston to secure a pledge from the 6-foot guard out of Lima, Ohio. Simpson joins Jon Teske, Ibi Watson and Austin Davis in Michigan’s 2016 class. He’s Michigan’s third commitment from the state of Ohio in the class of 2016.
Rankings & Measurables
Simpson measured in a 6-foot, 170 pounds with a 6-foot-4 wingspan at the Nike Skills Academy this summer and is a consensus four-star prospect. He shared Division I Player of the Year honors in Ohio after averaging 19.8 points per game during his junior year at Lima Senior.
He averaged 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in the spring and summer with King James on the Nike EYBL circuit and shot 46 percent from the field, 35 percent from beyond the arc and 78 percent from the free throw line.
- 247 Sports Composite: Four-star, #69
- Rivals: Four-star, #87
- Scout: Four-star, #55
- ESPN: Four-star, #66
Prep Hoops Ohio’s Zach Fleer provided this report on Simpson’s game:
Hard-nosed, gritty and thoroughbred winner of a point guard. Simpson is a floor general with a coach’s mentality and has been Ohio’s biggest shot maker in the 2016 class in big games. The reigning Division I Player of the Year in Ohio, Simpson made his case as the state’s top point guard early on as a sophomore, and has only widened the gap ever since. An elite-level defender who is no slouch on the offensive end, Simpson may be undersized, but it is his heart and toughness that sets him apart. One of the best guards to ever come out of Lima, Ohio, Simpson is as composed as they come, and will make for an excellent point guard in the Big Ten. Improving his outside shooting and finishing ability over the last year, there’s really not a whole lot of weaknesses in Simpson’s game. An absolute bulldog on the defensive perimeter, Simpson has terrorized guards across Ohio for the last year threes. Look for Simpson to be a strong contender for Mr. Basketball in Ohio, as his Lima Senior Spartans have a chance to go deep in the state tournament.
Xavier is a tough, cerebral point guard. He can score some but is best as a distributor and facilitator. While his scoring/shooting does need improvement he will make clutch shots at end of clock situations. He’s not afraid to take game-winners. He has a strong body and is a very good defender. Leadership is also one of his best attributes. His shot is streaky and needs work to become a weapon. While he is strong he is not physically gifted, not the best athlete and not super quick.
Xavier is your classic tough, winning lead guard. His talent won’t overwhelm you but all he does is win.
Simpson had a huge performance in front of Scout.com at the NBPA Top 100 Camp:
Normally Xavier Simpson is known for his ability to facilitate and a run a team and while he certainly showed that at times, it was his scoring and aggressive nature that stood out Friday night. Simpson finished 10-for-16 from the field on his way to a night session high of 27 points. Simpson pushed the tempo and scored in transition but was in attack mode in the half court and found ways to get into the paint. He finished at the rim and also knocked down multiple three-pointers. Simpson is clearly looking for his shot more here, which is expected in a camp setting, and he put together one of the better single game performances of the event.
Michigan finally has its point guard. The Wolverines have been searching for a replacement for Derrick Walton and found a consensus top-75 prospect to fill the void. Simpson should have a year to play under Derrick Walton as a freshman before coming into his own as Michigan’s primary lead guard as a sophomore.
Simpson is the fifth-best unsigned point guard on the board according to 247Sports Composite and while Michigan didn’t land the highly-touted in-state recruit, the Wolverines were able to pivot and still end up with one of the better lead guards in the Midwest. He’s not the same level of offensive player as Cassius Winston right now, but his defensive prowess should help make up for that early on in his career.
Simpson is the highest rated member of Michigan’s 2016 class and could wrap it up as the Wolverines now have a point guard, a wing and two bigs. Michigan, already oversigned by one in the class, could be out of scholarships for additional members even with attrition. Simpson’s commitment also gives Michigan the No. 14 class in the country according to 247 Sports.
Miles Bridges had been scheduled to take an official visit to Michigan in October, but with Cassius Winston headed elsewhere that visit could be in doubt as Bridges is very interested in playing with his AAU teammate. The Wolverines should now set their sights on the class of 2017 where they have yet to extend a scholarship offer. Our current in-progress list of class of 2017 prospects can be found here.