The Wolverine

February 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 135 of 187

  BASKETBALL RECRUITING BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan's class of 2016 signees are all playing well, and perhaps none better than Lima (Ohio) Senior point guard Xavier Simpson (5‑11, Ri‑ four‑star prospect and No. 86 senior nationally). It's far too early to call him the next Trey Burke, the difference‑maker at point guard who helped the Wolverines to their first Big Ten championship in nearly 30 years before earning national player of the year honors the following season, but the similarities are undeniable. Michigan head coach John Beilein said as much in commenting follow‑ ing Simpson's record 59‑point game in a 103‑57 win over Fremont (Ohio) Ross Dec. 15. Simpson made three triples in the first minute, and went on to make 8 of 13 from beyond the arc and 23 of 36 shots total in the dominant victory. Simpson's father and coach, Quincey Simpson, said the results come from being the first in the gym and the last to leave during practice. "It's a lot of odd hours when most people are still in bed," he said. "We have a saying — 'We want to beat the country to the gym.' We go in the gym four days a week at five o'clock a.m., so that's two o'clock a.m. on the West Coast. He likes to work out when much of the country is still in bed." Simpson has always been a bull‑ dog, playing hard on both ends of the floor, but his once erratic jump shot has now become a weapon, and it was on full display Dec. 15. "It goes without saying all the work that's invested when peo‑ ple aren't watching is paying off," Quincey Simpson said. "I've seen him grow from a kid who could only do certain things … I've seen him work on his weaknesses, go to camps where he hasn't been the best player, was discouraged, mad, even cried. "But then I've seen him come back home and put hours in the gym and do what it takes." Simpson had 30 at halftime and 50 at the beginning of the fourth quarter against Ross. That's when someone whispered in his ear that he was in   BASKETBALL RECRUITING Signee Xavier Simpson Is Off To A Terrific Start Simpson set a Lima (Ohio) Senior single- game school record with 59 points Dec. 15 and was averaging 32 points per contest for the season as of Jan. 18. PHOTO COURTESY RIVALS.COM

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