The Wolverine

June-July 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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BY CHRIS BALAS M ichigan coaches seem to be making a habit of stealing elite but under-the-radar point guards from the state of Ohio. First it was Columbus Northland's Trey Burke, who won a Big Ten title, led U-M to the national championship game and swept college basketball's player of the year awards before becoming the NBA's No. 9 overall draft pick in 2013. Part two comes in the form of a 5-11 bulldog of a point guard who shares many of the same characteristics. Lima (Ohio) Senior 's Xavier Simpson was only 13 years old and heading into his freshman year of high school when he told his father, Quincey, that he planned on being the state of Ohio's Mr. Basketball. Four years later, while playing for his father at Lima, Simpson earned the honor in a year many called the best in recent memory for talent in the state. Medina (Ohio) High's Chris Hassinger, head coach of future Simpson teammate and 7-1 center signee Jon Teske, said it was essentially a unanimous decision. "I've seen him play a few times, the latest in the state tournament," he said. "I can't believe the second gear he has. I have not seen a kid that can turn it up that quickly, be so fast and finish. And the way he can jump, his hops … he's unbelievable." Even Simpson's dad was skeptical when his son shared his lofty goals with him several years ago. Winning a state championship was one thing — he earned one with Lima Catholic Central as a sophomore, boosting his points per game from 8.0 to 20.0, and fell two points short with Lima Senior this season, the only loss of the year coming in the state title game — but Mr. Basketball was a tall order. As dads do, however, Quincey supported him, and he set a plan to reach that goal. For years, father and son have gotten to the gym at 5:30 in DÉJÀ VU IN BLUE Point Guard Signee Xavier Simpson Shares Many Of Trey Burke's Qualities

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