DeShawn showed us that he really is the scorer that he was recruited to be. His freshman year was wrecked by family tragedy and his sophomore year saw him live almost exclusively on the perimeter. This year he was forced to the paint — more so by necessity than choice. Luckily, DeShawn was up to the challenge. He attempted 60 less three pointers this year, but managed to lead the Big Ten in field goals made while making 224 of his 444 attempts (50.5%, 53.3 eFG%).
Because he was forced to play down low, it was crucial that Sims attack the glass. Sims averaged 6.8 rpg (5th in conference) and was tied with Manny Harris for the leading rebounder on the team. He struggled at times in conference play on the glass and his average steadily declined but that was mostly a product of dealing with better rebounding teams in the Big Ten.
Peedi improved in just about every facet of the game. This should be expected I suppose but as we saw under Tommy Amaker, improvement should never be taken for granted. Even beyond the numbers, Sims looks more confident within the offense and he continues to find his niche.
Sims eliminated the Georgetown-esque 1 point performances that we saw in his sophomore year but he still struggled to bring a consistent effort night in and night out. Part of the problem is that his play was so spectacular at times that you wonder why he wasn’t able to do it every time out.
All too often Sims would drift to the perimeter instead of focusing his offense in the interior. It is critical that Sims plays inside out. He has to start inside where he can build his confidence before he starts launching longer jumpers.
- vs. Duke – 28 points (10-16 shooting), 12 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal
The Duke game was the defining moment of Michigan’s season and DeShawn Sims was the star. DeShawn scored the ball inside and out while controlling the glass despite being a non-factor in the first Duke/Michigan match-up that took place only a couple weeks earlier.
- vs. Purdue - 29 points (13-16 shooting), 5 rebounds
Another glimpse of just how dominant DeShawn can be. He took the ball right at JaJuan Johnson, who was eventually forced to the bench with foul trouble, and scored inside all night long. This one was an absolute must-win for Michigan’s tournament chances and DeShawn came to play.
- vs. Iowa – 27 points (12-16 shooting), 2 rebounds, 3 steals
DeShawn Sims single handily punched Michigan’s NCAA tournament ticket. Michigan went to Sims early and often and just sat back and watched as he made his first eight shots from the field and simply couldn’t be stopped.
DeShawn has played a dramatically different role in each of his three seasons at Michigan. His freshman year he was a seldom used back-up power forward. His sophomore year he played the “four” in Beilein’s offense which saw him floating around on the perimeter and launching three point shots. And finally, this year he played the “five” where he was almost exclusively an interior player.
The question is where does he go next year? There is a much larger stable of interior players next year but I’m not sure any of them have the ability to score in the post the way DeShawn does. I think we will most likely see a mix of DeShawn at the four and five. Against bigger lineups we will see him play the four along side someone like Ben Cronin while against smaller lineups we will see him down low in hopes that he can exploit a mis-match.
Final Grade: A
DeShawn deserves nothing but an ‘A’. Politics may have forced him off of the All-conference first team, but statistically he had a spectacular season. He was a top five scorer and rebounder and posted an effective field goal percentage of 53.3%. Not to mention the fact that he did all of this while playing down low in arguably the most physical conference in the nation at only 6-foot-8.
Did he have some disappointing performances? Definitely, but over the course of a season, who doesn’t? The improvement that he made in between each of his three years at Michigan has been remarkable. If he can make similar strides before his senior year we should be expecting another special year.