The Wolverine

February 2020

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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46 THE WOLVERINE FEBRUARY 2020 M ichigan senior point guard Zavier Simpson dished out six assists in a 90-83 loss to Iowa Jan. 17, giving him 579 for his career. That moved him past former great Rumeal Robinson (1988- 90) to No. 2 on the school's all-time assists list, behind only Gary Grant's (1985-88) 731. Simpson passed Robinson's 575, 233 of which came during Michigan's 1988-89 national championship cam- paign of 1988-89. That was the fifth most in a single season in school his- tory, with Trey Burke's 260 in 2012-13 remaining the all-time record. Simpson had notched 148 through 17 games and was on pace to break Burke's mark with 14 more regular- season tilts scheduled, though he'd need 152 more dimes this year to catch Grant on the all-time list. The current Michigan point guard, however, was averaging 8.7 dimes per game as of Jan. 19, which is the most in all of college basketball this season. Only four other players in the country were averaging more than 7.5 assists per game: UT Rio Grande Valley's Ja- von Levi (8.3), Samford's Josh Sharkey (8.2), Sacred Heart's Cameron Parker (8.2) and Iowa State's Tyrese Halibur- ton (7.8). Furthermore, only three other play- ers in the Big Ten were averaging more than four assists per contest: Minne- sota redshirt sophomore Marcus Carr (7.3), Nebraska redshirt sophomore Cam Mack (6.7) and Michigan State senior Cassius Winston (6.1). Michigan head coach Juwan How- ard has continually called Simpson his "Tom Brady," referring to him as the quarterback of his team. "I have one of the best point guards in college basketball," Howard said. "We have one of the best leaders in college basketball, one of the tough- est competitors in college basketball. He's a kid that has been counted out so many times, but he has always fig- ured it out and rises to occasion when needed." Howard isn't the only one who views Simpson in such high regard. On Jan. 8, he was added to the Wooden Award's midseason list of the top 25 players in the game, despite not ap- pearing on the preseason watch list of 50. Simpson was one of six from the Big Ten to make the cut. The recipient of the 2020 Wooden Award will be announced April 10, with the Big Ten's last winner coming in 2015 when Wisconsin center Frank Kaminsky took home the prize. The only time a Michigan player has won it was when Trey Burke claimed top honors in 2013. — Chris Balas JUWAN HOWARD STILL TINKERING WITH LINEUPS Michigan head coach Juwan How- ard has gone deep into his bench a number of times this year, with 10 players averaging 8.5 minutes or more per game through Jan. 19. The coach said all season he'd put lineups on the floor based on "feel" and game situa- tions, and he's been true to his word.   MICHIGAN BASKETBALL Zavier Simpson Now Second On All-Time Assists List Simpson was named to the Wooden Award's Midseason Top 25 list Jan. 8; he was one of six Big Ten players to make the cut. PHOTO BY LON HORWEDEL MICHIGAN'S ALL-TIME ASSISTS LEADERS 1. Gary Grant (1985-88), 731 2. Zavier Simpson (2017-20), 579 3. Rumeal Robinson (1988-90), 575 4. Antoine Joubert (1984-87), 539 5. Derrick Walton (2014-17), 499 6. Daniel Horton (2003-06), 484 7. Travis Conlan (1995-98), 480 8. Eric Turner (1982-84), 421 9. Trey Burke (2012-13), 416 10. Jalen Rose (1992-94), 401

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