Four-star point guard Xavier Simpson commits to Michigan

Dylan Burkhardt

Four-star point guard Xavier Simpson announced his commitment to Michigan this afternoon. He picked Michigan over Wisconsin, Illinois, Miami, Iowa State, Indiana and others.

Simpson’s recruitment escalated quickly this week as the Wolverines moved on from Cassius Winston to secure a pledge from the 6-foot guard out of Lima, Ohio. Simpson joins Jon Teske, Ibi Watson and Austin Davis in Michigan’s 2016 class. He’s Michigan’s third commitment from the state of Ohio in the class of 2016.

Rankings & Measurables

Simpson measured in a 6-foot, 170 pounds with a 6-foot-4 wingspan at the Nike Skills Academy this summer and is a consensus four-star prospect. He shared Division I Player of the Year honors in Ohio after averaging 19.8 points per game during his junior year at Lima Senior.

He averaged 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game in the spring and summer with King James on the Nike EYBL circuit and shot 46 percent from the field, 35 percent from beyond the arc and 78 percent from the free throw line.

  • 247 Sports Composite: Four-star, #69
  • Rivals: Four-star, #87
  • Scout: Four-star, #55
  • ESPN: Four-star, #66



Prep Hoops Ohio’s Zach Fleer provided this report on Simpson’s game:

Hard-nosed, gritty and thoroughbred winner of a point guard. Simpson is a floor general with a coach’s mentality and has been Ohio’s biggest shot maker in the 2016 class in big games. The reigning Division I Player of the Year in Ohio, Simpson made his case as the state’s top point guard early on as a sophomore, and has only widened the gap ever since. An elite-level defender who is no slouch on the offensive end, Simpson may be undersized, but it is his heart and toughness that sets him apart. One of the best guards to ever come out of Lima, Ohio, Simpson is as composed as they come, and will make for an excellent point guard in the Big Ten. Improving his outside shooting and finishing ability over the last year, there’s really not a whole lot of weaknesses in Simpson’s game. An absolute bulldog on the defensive perimeter, Simpson has terrorized guards across Ohio for the last year threes. Look for Simpson to be a strong contender for Mr. Basketball in Ohio, as his Lima Senior Spartans have a chance to go deep in the state tournament.

ESPN’s report also focuses on Simpson’s toughness:

Xavier is a tough, cerebral point guard. He can score some but is best as a distributor and facilitator. While his scoring/shooting does need improvement he will make clutch shots at end of clock situations. He’s not afraid to take game-winners. He has a strong body and is a very good defender. Leadership is also one of his best attributes.  His shot is streaky and needs work to become a weapon. While he is strong he is not physically gifted, not the best athlete and not super quick.

Xavier is your classic tough, winning lead guard. His talent won’t overwhelm you but all he does is win.

Simpson had a huge performance in front of at the NBPA Top 100 Camp:

Normally Xavier Simpson is known for his ability to facilitate and a run a team and while he certainly showed that at times, it was his scoring and aggressive nature that stood out Friday night. Simpson finished 10-for-16 from the field on his way to a night session high of 27 points. Simpson pushed the tempo and scored in transition but was in attack mode in the half court and found ways to get into the paint. He finished at the rim and also knocked down multiple three-pointers. Simpson is clearly looking for his shot more here, which is expected in a camp setting, and he put together one of the better single game performances of the event.

Bottom Line

Michigan finally has its point guard. The Wolverines have been searching for a replacement for Derrick Walton and found a consensus top-75 prospect to fill the void. Simpson should have a year to play under Derrick Walton as a freshman before coming into his own as Michigan’s primary lead guard as a sophomore.

Simpson is the fifth-best unsigned point guard on the board according to 247Sports Composite and while Michigan didn’t land the highly-touted in-state recruit, the Wolverines were able to pivot and still end up with one of the better lead guards in the Midwest. He’s not the same level of offensive player as Cassius Winston right now, but his defensive prowess should help make up for that early on in his career.

Simpson is the highest rated member of Michigan’s 2016 class and could wrap it up as the Wolverines now have a point guard, a wing and two bigs. Michigan, already oversigned by one in the class, could be out of scholarships for additional members even with attrition. Simpson’s commitment also gives Michigan the No. 14 class in the country according to 247 Sports.

scholarships simpson

Miles Bridges had been scheduled to take an official visit to Michigan in October, but with Cassius Winston headed elsewhere that visit could be in doubt as Bridges is very interested in playing with his AAU teammate. The Wolverines should now set their sights on the class of 2017 where they have yet to extend a scholarship offer. Our current in-progress list of class of 2017 prospects can be found here.

    • Sounds like X snuck in an unofficial on Sunday after his Wisconsin official visit. Nicely played by U-M.

      • robpollard

        When you say “sounds like” is that something that he actually said (e.g., during his announcement — so we have confirmation) or is that still just the word on the street?

        • That was the worst on the street this morning which has been confirmed by Webb who was at the announcement.

          • robpollard

            Got it. Thanks for the confirmation.

            Some Wisky fans were thinking there was a bagman involved (as if Beilein would ever do that) b/c he hadn’t even made a visit. Turns out, he did.

          • No visit, no offer for Michigan so there had to be a visit.

            On the other hand, I imagine feeling a bit Brust-y having someone tag-a-long to an official visit like that, but those are the breaks. I believe MSU tried something like this with Kam Chatman’s visit to Ann Arbor. Anything goes in recruiting.

          • bobohle

            Would you call Tre Burke a bagman? Haha.

  • Matt

    Hell Yeahh!!!, Super excited for Xavier. Watch the tapes between Winston and Simpson, Simpson looks like the better player by far. Very happy with these turn of events! GO BLUE

  • jakelam2116

    This just made my day. Excited to learn about and then watch Xavier.

  • gobluemd16

    Sounds like a great competitor who excels at defense, facilitating, and winning. Shooting seems to be a bit inconsistent (and his release is very low for someone 5’10-5’11), but I think we have the best possible coach to remedy that :)

  • Mark Worthley

    Half of their targets for 2017 are from Indianapolis…that’s crazy.

  • Cory

    Great get for Coach Beilein and the program. I can’t agree more with taking a guy that wants to be here instead of waiting and hoping for a comparable player to make up his mind and risk having to start from scratch.

  • Bluerev

    XS, Welcome aboard–Coolest initials ever!

  • mirepoix

    Love it — welcome to the team, young man!

  • bobohle

    Welcome aboard Mr. Simpson. As Jalen Rose stated when Battle decommitted:”This now makes room for someone who WANTS TO BE AT MICHIGAN”. Go Blue! You will find that it is great to be a Michigan Wolverine.

  • Mattski


  • AADave

    Great addition to the class!! A perfect fit, a well regarded 4 star who will likely stay a few years. And I always like a “fearless” high energy point guard.

  • Indiana_Matt

    Dope! Turns out to be a really nice looking class.

  • bobohle

    I just love how this come about. Nobody says you have to publicly announce the visit. Jaylen Brown pulled that on us this year tagging on the unofficial Cal visit after he visited AA.

  • Champswest

    After two years in Michigan’s back yard, Winston still can’t decide if he wants to go to UM or not. Xavier takes a visit, gets an offer and BAM, he’s a Wolverine. I love it. I love guys who want to play for Michigan.

  • He certainly has his runner working.

  • Wayman Britt

    Games against OSU in a couple of years are going to be good watching.

    • Leslie Hoerwinkle

      Only if That Matta can lower the oil content on his face.

  • Leslie Hoerwinkle

    Ironically, Michigan Simpson committed to Xavier.

  • Fab 5 Legends

    perfect, I prefer guards from ohio over michigan….i can see him developing into a trey burke type player

  • UMTigersLionsWings

    out winston…INXS! Great choice kid