NEW YORK — Twenty-three months ago, the last time Zavier Simpson stood on this court, he came off with a piece of the net in his hand, stepping over confetti.
He had just led Michigan on a four-day charge, winning the Big Ten Tournament with consecutive upsets that came on the back of a new identity he’d spent the season helping mold. It felt like a rocket ascending, and as Simpson helped take the Wolverines to the Final Four and then into the next January undefeated, it kept climbing.
On Saturday, Simpson walked onto the Madison Square Garden court with his team still on its heels. He returned from a one-game suspension that felt like the lowest in a month of lows for a Michigan basketball program that, over the last 23 months, has gone wherever Simpson has taken it.
The last time he was here?
“It felt like a very long time (ago) actually,” Simpson said, “but then again, when I got here, it kinda gave me memories.”