Hoops Preview 2017-18: Point Guards

Hoops Preview 2017-18: Point Guards

Submitted by Ace on November 8th, 2017 at 4:05 PM

[Photos/graphic: Marc-Gregor Campredon]

The team preview posts begin with Michigan's biggest hole to fill. Derrick Walton was nothing short of spectacular in his final season running the point for John Beilein.

Ever since Michigan picked up Ohio grad transfer Jaaron Simmons this spring, the expectation has been that he'd step into the starting spot. At least for the moment, however, this is an open competition with sophomore Zavier Simpson and freshman Eli Brooks. John Beilein at last week's media day:

“It’s all three. We have a scrimmage coming up Sunday. I have no idea who I’m gonna start, it could be any one of those three. That is the honest truth. I would expect that to be revolving a little bit and hopefully somebody wins it down the line. We might have a quarterback controversy.”

So far Beilein has gone with experience within his system; Simpson started last week's exhibition. While it looks like a two-man race between him and Simmons, expect to see all three point guards on the floor as Beilein does his usual early-season tinkering with lineup combinations.

"None of those guards came in and said ‘okay, I’m the guy.’ Maybe it’s because they’re playing so hard against each other, really. There is a war going on out there every day and it’s really good."

Beilein is certainly hoping someone steps to the forefront. As Michigan fans well know, his best teams in Ann Arbor have all featured excellent point guard play.

[Hit THE JUMP for individual player previews.]

This Week's Obsession: Hoopsters Of Intrigue

This Week's Obsession: Hoopsters Of Intrigue

Submitted by Ace on October 25th, 2017 at 11:57 AM

THIS ARTICLE HAS A SPONSOR: If you haven’t yet talked to Nick Hopwood, our MGoFinancial Planner from Peak Wealth Management, hopefully his appearance on last week's live podcast convinced you that he's the right guy to help you plan your financial future. As we learned last week, he saw well before many that Joe Paterno had become a useless figurehead; that same perceptiveness can be utilized to bolster your bank account.

Our deal is Nick is the guy I go to for financial strategies, and he gets to ask us Michigan questions on your behalf. Anytime it’s a Nick question, we’ll let you know. Anytime you’ve got a financial question, let Nick know.


Legal disclosure in tiny font: Calling Nick our official financial planner is not intended as financial advice; Nick is an advertiser who financially supports MGoBlog. MGoBlog is not responsible for any advice or other communication provided to an investor by any financial advisor, and makes no representations or warranties as to the suitability of any particular financial advisor and/or investment for a specific investor.


Jaaron Simmons is expected to take over Derrick Walton's role. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Nick's Question: Basketball media day is today, which gives us an excuse to talk about something besides football. Let's do that.

Which Basketball Player Are You Most Interested To See As The Season Starts?

Ace: You might expect me to say Charles Matthews, and the Kentucky transfer’s development since his freshman year is certainly of paramount importance to the success of this team. That said, I’m going with Ohio grad transfer Jaaron Simmons, who’ll be tasked with replacing the majority of Derrick Walton’s possessions as the team’s lead guard.

The key to last year’s offense was the high screen tandem of Walton and Moe Wagner, who found a way to beat opponents no matter how they tried to defend it. According to Synergy, Walton graded out in the 86th percentile as a pick-and-roll ball handler in 149 possessions; the only returning Wolverine to use 50 such possessions last season was Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, who graded out in the 31st percentile. Zavier Simpson showed good passing ability on limited possessions but his lack of an outside shooting threat is going to seriously limit him — opponents are going to sag off and dare him to shoot until he proves he can make them pay.

Given an enormous workload on a team with limited talent, Simmons played with surprising efficiency last year, reaching the 65th percentile as a P&R ball handler in 228 possessions, the 18th-most in the country. (Others in the top 25: Jawun Evans, Melo Trimble, Tai Webster, Bryan McIntosh, Corey Webster, Nate Mason.) He ranked in the 70th percentile in offense derived from pick-and-roll situations even though he played with substandard (47th percentile) roll men; Wagner graded out in the 90th percentile.

Simmons is very capable as both a scorer and passer, and Michigan’s surrounding talent should allow him to play with greater efficiency than he did as a heavy-usage player on a mid-major squad. (Ohio’s #2 option last year was MSU castoff Kenny Kaminski.) While Matthews is the key to Michigan’s defensive success, Simmons is the newcomer who’s best equipped to keep Beilein’s offense scoring up to its lofty standard.

[Hit THE JUMP for the rest of the roundtable.]

Unverified Voracity Admires Punt

Unverified Voracity Admires Punt

Submitted by Brian on June 7th, 2017 at 1:09 PM

Let's watch a punt. This is a Big Ten blog, after all. This is incoming freshman Brad Robbins:

And that's a 5.0 hangtime punt. I'm a little surprised Robbins was headed to Nevada before Michigan had a scholarship open on Signing Day. Seems like a potential Zoltan Mesko.

Rise of the nooners. Michigan/Air Force will be at noon on BTN, the fourth 2017 home game at which toe will meet leather at God's time. The only remaining home dates without times are Michigan State, which seems fated to be a night game despite everyone save TV thinking that's a bad idea, and Minnesota. Minnesota is November 4th. In the past that's meant both participants would have to sign off on a night game, and despite changes to the TV contracts that clause appears intact. Manuel:

“The only difference is, the Big Ten and television can assign us to a primetime game [before November] and it’s not our option. In November, we have the option if we choose to do so. I don’t anticipate that choice being made.”

I would anticipate Minnesota being noon or 3:30 as well.

As a person who likes to watch a lot of college football this is an excellent development. YMMV.

Ready to roll. Steve Lorenz has a piece on Michigan's incoming linebackers that features this piece of good news on Drew Singleton:

He is 100% healthy and ready to go for fall camp according to two sources I spoke with on Monday and Tuesday. Because of his lock status as a recruit and his knee injury, he may be the most under-talked about prospect the Wolverines signed in the 2017 cycle.

He also asserts that all three incoming LBs could be on the two-deep this fall, which is good news for them and maybe less than good news for the extant linebacker corps past the starters.

Good luck with that. College football twitter set a new record for most "that's a bold strategy, Cotton" references yesterday after Ole Miss responded to their latest NOA by saying 1) we're super guilty and 2) Hugh Freeze is not responsible.

Why is Ole Miss going to these incredible lengths to protect Hugh Freeze?

What the Rebels are going to the NCAA Committee on Infractions with later this year is the kind of defense a school might mount for Nick Saban or Urban Meyer or John Calipari. It is a full-fledged document of support for Ole Miss’ football coach, unequivocal in its admission that major violations occurred but unwavering in its denial of Freeze’s responsibility for any of them.

Ole Miss’ institutional decision to pursue this strategy is puzzling. While Freeze has had some shining moments in Oxford, he’s 19-21 in the SEC and is nobody’s definition of irreplaceable. Yet the school is taking the path of most resistance in defending him, and by doing so, potentially risking the total destruction of its football program for the foreseeable future.

Hugh Freeze draws a lot of water in this town, NCAA.

Poor ol' Barney looks set up to be the fall guy:

“It’s not right,” Loyd added. “It is a betrayal of him. Do I think Barney’s been made a scapegoat? Yes. Based on what I’ve seen and know, they set him up. ‘You are the most unsophisticated, the most expendable, and, tag, you’re it.’ But I have to say, I’m his advocate in this.

“Barney’s thinking is, ‘We were all in this together – what happened to me?’ They were a team, and a team doesn’t abandon their own on the field of play. It’s also not the Ole Miss way.”

Barney Farrar was the guy Laremy Tunsil was told to see in the text messages released on Tunsil's instagram on draft day last year. Told to see by Ole Miss's Assistant AD of Football Operations. Totally without Freeze's knowledge. Uh huh.

It remains a mystery why Ole Miss wouldn't throw Freeze overboard and try to mitigate the damage. His best skill is credulously accepting commitments from guys his boosters bought. Surely whoever's at Arkansas State can replicate that.

Grabbin' grad transfers. Brendan Quinn on Michigan's entry into the grad transfer market:

For a program like Ohio, this is an atomic loss. There is no replacement. There is no recruit that Ohio can discover in the forests of Neverland who will walk in and average 15.9 points and 6.5 assists per game. The roster is not built for attrition, let alone its best player picking up and leaving as a graduate transfer.

Phillips declined an interview for this story.

Beilen, meanwhile, told me he spoke to Phillips twice during the transfer process. At one point, he recalled telling Phillips: 'I just hate how this is happening." Beilein feels for Phillips because Beilein sees himself in Phillips. This is the little guy getting screwed.

It is also, though, the reality of college basketball in 2017.

Simmons was strongly considering attending Ohio State. Other Big Ten schools were circling. Beilein was faced with a dilemma.

"He was going to go to one of our competitors, probably, if he didn't come to us," Beilein said.

It's bad for the lower reaches of D-I but good for the players, and teams who have to fill unexpected holes annually. At this point the grad transfer rule is all but sacrosanct. These days trying to restrict a transfer in any way comes with it a media outcry and a hasty retraction; trying to do away with grad transfers would cause a huge blowup. It is what it is.

Hockey is too random. There's such a thing as too much unpredictability, and hockey has it.

Goalies and defensive systems got a lot better; goals plummeted; games turned into a bunch of coinflips. Hockey is now the most random major sport:


Shots and possession don't turn into goals enough. The only solution is to embiggen the nets; otherwise goalie dominance will continue and the NHL playoffs will remain almost totally random.

Etc.: Scouting Akrum Wadley. Jim Harbaugh has a fan. Midlevel Big Ten teams are about to be irritated by Cincinnati. Via Mike Rubin, more on Flin Flon. M players had a month off to be humans. Now that's over.

Unverified Voracity Mints Three Dollar Coin

Unverified Voracity Mints Three Dollar Coin

Submitted by Brian on May 31st, 2017 at 12:24 PM


[Marc-Gregor Campredon]

Baseball returns to the tournament. They kick off their tourney run at 1 on Friday against Florida Gulf Coast. Michigan was one of the last four teams in after a bit of a slump to end the season; they've got excellent pitching and questionable bats.

The Zaire holdup. Former ND quarterback Malik Zaire is going to grad transfer somewhere, and reports have suggested that if it can be Florida it will be. This is the holdup on UF's end:

The SEC has always been stricter on graduate transfers than other leagues, largely because some coaches disapproved of Ole Miss getting a waiver to enroll Jeremiah Masoli from Oregon in 2010, especially when he didn’t complete a graduate degree. So it put some rules in place, one of which restricts schools from taking graduates transfers for three years if their previous transfers didn’t work out academically. Well, Florida had two graduate transfers in 2015 that didn't meet academic benchmarks, so technically they shouldn’t be able to take Zaire -- unless the rule changes this week, allowing the SEC to drop all pretense that academics matter in this discussion.

Florida should know one way or the other soon, and then Michigan will know if they'll be taking on Zaire or (probably) redshirt freshman Felipe Franks in the opener. Zaire's done pretty well in sparing time over the last three years, completing 59% of his 98 attempts for 8.3 YPA and a 6-0 TD-INT ratio. It would be better for Michigan if the Gators did not have that option, and that's why everyone expects the SEC's grad transfer rule to go by the wayside in the near future.

Spartan blackout nearing its end. After months of nothing, the wheels have started to turn in East Lansing:

Blackwell's contract had been extended by a month twice, which struck me as odd by may have been required for the school's now-concluded Title IX investigation. With that complete a decision from the county prosecutor can't be far behind. Probably.

Meanwhile it was revealed today that former MSU WR Keith Mumphery was expelled last year for sexual misconduct. If the anonymous trio ends up booted, as it appears they will be, that's five in two years. 

Somebody still writes for ESPN! Congratulations to Kevin Pelton, the last man standing. He's got a fascinating piece on the emergence of the pull-up three pointer in the NBA. This is relevant to Michigan's interests since they've seen the same thing happen over the last few years with Nik Stauskas and Derrick Walton. The pull up 3 is a very very average shot even for guys who are the best at it, but the threat of it opens other things up on the pick and roll:

Portland point guard Damian Lillard, whose 445 pull-up 3-pointers since 2013-14 rank him third in the league over that span behind Curry and James Harden of the Houston Rockets, recalls learning the intricacy of pick-and-roll play from a trainer in 10th grade.

"He would always tell me, 'Everything is a setup,' " Lillard said.

The ability to shoot the pull-up 3 changes the way opponents defend pick-and-rolls and isolation plays, forcing them to come out higher to be able to contest a deep shot off the dribble. Lillard says he feels that difference on both ends of the court.

"You just know that you've got to be more in their space," he says of defending a player who can shoot the pull-up 3. "I know when a guy gives me space and I come off the pick-and-roll clean, that's a shot that I'm looking for because people want three points over two points now, especially with so many guys that can take and make that shot. So when I'm guarding a guy like that, I'm aware of it."

Here is a chart of pick and roll efficacy versus pull-up threes attempted for NBA players:


Michigan fans are nodding at that slope. This is especially relevant to our interests because Michigan was about to find out what happens at the very lower end of that scale when Xavier Simpson stepped into Walton's shoes. Simpson was just 5/19 on threes last year and just about all of those were must-take catch and shoots.

Now they're likely to be on the higher end of the scale. Jaaron Simmons is coming off a season where he took a whopping 104 jumpers off the dribble, per Synergy, and managed exactly 1 PPP on them. That was 87th percentile. He was at 1.16 PPP last year when shooting off the dribble after accepting a pick and roll; that was 88th percentile. His eFG in those situations was 58%—ie, insane.

Amongst D-I players with at least 50 PNR pull-ups last year Simmons was 11th in PPP, and the folks around him are almost exclusively low-low majors. Two notable exceptions were #9 Markelle Fultz, the probable top pick in the NBA draft, and #2 Derrick Walton.

Muckalt more or less done. Also: Flin Flon! George Sipple confirms Tech Hockey Guide's report that Bill Muckalt will be Mel Pearson's second assistant. Tech promoted assistant Joe Shawhan.

In less relevant hockey news, today I learned that Pearson is from a place named "Flin Flon," which is a silly name to give to a place. Pearson is now the only person you know who worked in a zinc plant:

“I did a little bit of everything,” Pearson said. “I worked in the zinc plant one summer. I went underground at North Main for a couple summers, working in the steel shop, straightening steel and sharpening up. I had to fill in at the changehouse one year, too. I enjoyed it. You meet a lot of really neat people there and learn about the industry and the mine itself and how things operate.”

Flin Flon is a remote town of 5k. Very remote:


And its name was acquired in the usual way:

The town's name is taken from the lead character in a paperback novel, The Sunless City by J. E. Preston Muddock. Josiah Flintabbatey Flonatin piloted a submarine through a bottomless lake where he passed into a strange underground world through a hole lined with gold. A copy of the book was allegedly found and read by prospector Tom Creighton.

When Tom Creighton discovered a high-grade exposure of copper, he thought of the book and called it Flin Flon's mine, and the town that developed around the mine adopted the name. Flin Flon shares with Tarzana, California, the distinction of being named after a character in a science fiction novel.

The character of "Flinty", as he is locally known, is of such importance to the identity of the city that the local Chamber of Commerce commissioned the minting of a $3.00 coin which was considered legal tender amongst locally participating retailers during the year following its issue. A statue representing Flinty was designed by cartoonist Al Capp and is one of the points of interest of the city. In 1978, the National Film Board of Canada produced the short documentary Canada Vignettes: Flin Flon about the origin of the city's name.[4]

This has been today's MGoDiscussionOfCanadianSmallTownNames.


Hello: guy. Hockey has added this person:

Becker is an odd duck. He'll be 20 before he arrives this fall; unusually for an overager he was drafted. (In the seventh round, sure. Still: odd.) He was a Wisconsin commit who got thrown back in the pool when Mike Eaves was fired. His second try at a commitment was Tech.

Becker had a 16-12-28 line in 49 games last year. At 19 that's a statline indicative of a bottom six player. He's a big dude at 6'4", 198. More details at Tech Hockey Guide.

Also in hockey recruiting:

I've seen Norris anywhere from late first round to late second in draft projections; Pastujov seems to be moving back up into the third or fourth round range after an injury-plagued year or two. Chris Dilks recently profiled him:

After being considered one of the top prospects in his age group, Pastujov missed all but 5 games of his U16 season, and all but 14 games of his U17 seasons with the NTDP due to injury. He also missed a handful of games this season due to injury. I have no idea on the likelihood of re-occurrence. But even if he remains healthy, he has missed a lot of key development time in the past few years. …

NHL Central Scouting omitted him completely from their mid-term rankings before placing him 80th on their final list, and he followed that up with a point-per-game performance at the World U18s, which probably helps. There’s likely to be an extremely wide range of opinions on Pastujov though, just because there’s a tantalizing ceiling, but so little in terms of track record to go on.

If I were picking, I’d probably start looking at Pastujov as early as the late-second round. I have serious concerns given his injury history, but high-end scoring ability like he potentially has is going to be very hard to come by in this Draft.

Pastujov was a big big deal when he committed to Michigan; with Norris he has the potential to insert some of the top end scoring last year's team so badly missed.

Golazo. Francis Atuahene did this in a US Open Cup match:

Unfortunately for Michigan, Atuahene was about all they had going for them last year as they finished 4-11-4.

Etc.: Ryan Veingrad beats cancer, walks on. Florida opener set for 3:30, which is not at the same time as Bama-FSU. Northwestern scatback Solomon Vault will miss the 2017 season with injury. I am honor bound to link assertions that adding Rutgers and Maryland was a dumb long term move, but Delany's got his 20 mil so he don't care.

Basketbullets: Bamba To Texas, Simmons Withdraws, Wilson On Fringe

Basketbullets: Bamba To Texas, Simmons Withdraws, Wilson On Fringe

Submitted by Ace on May 18th, 2017 at 11:43 AM

Pondering. [Marc-Gregor Campredon]

The pipe dream is dead. Five-star center Mo Bamba committed to Texas via a post on The Players' Tribune:

Everybody’s recruiting process is unique in some way, and mine was no different. Watching my family grow and solidify its bond was by far my favorite part of the experience. The world is bigger than 94 by 50 feet, and we all agreed that Texas offers me an exceptional opportunity to blaze my own trail on the basketball front with the comfort of knowing that no matter what happens, I’ve got an unrivaled support network to lean on for whenever the ball stops bouncing.

Happy trails. /wipes away single tear

Simmons withdraws. The NBA combine and draft lottery are complete, so we have a new wave of mock drafts to look over. First, MLive's Brendan Quinn broke a bit of news last night that was probably a formaility but is a relief nonetheless: Ohio grad transfar Jaaron Simmons, who'll likely start at point guard, will withdraw his name from the draft and join the Wolverines.

Now, Simmons says, he's ready to come to Michigan.

"I'm gonna pull my name out of the draft," Simmons told MLive on Wednesday. "I haven't officially done it yet, but that's definitely the way I'm going."

Quinn reports Simmons is "in the process" of getting his name withdrawn. A strong player in both pick-and-roll and isolation situations, he fills a significant need and takes considerable pressure off of Xavier Simpson. More on Simmons and his fit on the roster here and here.

Mock draft updates. While we have more clarity after the combine, the status of DJ Wilson and Moe Wagner is still up in the air as we near the May 24th withdrawal deadline. Both players have said they won't stay in the draft unless they're first-round picks. That looks unlikely for Wagner; Wilson's situation is murkier.

Wilson sat out the combine with a nagging quad injury, and while missing the five-on-five portion of the combine may have been beneficial to his draft stock—he didn't have to bang bodies in the post with guys like Jordan Bell—the same cannot be said for missing the athletic testing portion, as his biggest draw right now is his size/athleticism combo. If Wilson's quad isn't healed up enough to fully participate in individual team workouts this week, he'll be in a tough spot, operating with far less feedback than he'd hoped to get when he began the process.

Wagner's combine performance showed it's probably in his best interest to come back to school, as the five-on-five portion mostly highlighted his shortcomings as a defender and rebounder:

Center Moritz Wagner was arguably the worst player in the five-on-five portion this week. In his first game, he posted 13 points, but his team was much better when he was off the floor as he posted a minus-25 plus/minus while struggling against big men like Omer Yurtseven. Then, in the second game, he went 3 of 15 from the field as he posted a 1 for 8 mark from 3 over the two games. Every time he left the floor, his team went on a run. He also didn’t measure well, and none of his athletic testing stood out. Sometimes kids just want to be done with school, and I respect that. But if Wagner was to enter the draft, he would run the risk of going undrafted given the obvious defensive and athletic limitations he showcased not just here, but also during the entire college basketball season.

Wagner is mostly absent from updated mock drafts, even the full two-round mocks. If those same projections hold, Wilson is going to have a difficult decision. Here's a rundown:

SBNation (one round): Wilson #17
Fox Sports
(one round): Wilson #24
The Ringer
* (two rounds): Wilson #25, Wagner #60
SI (one round + top five out): Wilson #28
DraftExpress (two rounds): Wilson #30 // (Wagner #59 for 2018)
ESPN (one round): Wagner #30, no Wilson
Bleacher Report (two rounds): Wilson #38
NBADraftNet (two rounds): none // (Wilson #21, Matthews #29, Wagner #38 for 2018)
HoopsHype (one round): none
Sporting News (one round): none
CBS Sports (one round): none

Save the rather odd suggestion from ESPN's Chad Ford that Utah could draft Wagner with the final pick of the first round and stash him in Germany, a route Wagner hasn't even hinted at considering, all indications are Wagner will either go in the mid-to-late second round or not at all. He's working out today for Milwaukee, which owns the #17 pick in the first round—far earlier than even the rosiest projections have Wagner going.

Wilson, meanwhile, is right on the borderline for his decision. Of the eleven mocks listed above, five have him going in the first round. With Bamba off to Texas, Wilson's decision will have a huge impact on the outlook of next year's rotation:

Perhaps Michigan could get in late on a grad-transfer wing if Wilson declares, but options are limited at this point.

Wilson told Quinn that his quad injury is going to impact his individual team workouts, though one team has stood out as a potential landing spot:

Wilson said the Spurs have requested that he reschedule a new workout and that he also plans to visit with the Orlando Magic. He added that there are "a few teams in the mix."

How many of those he'll be able to perform in front of remains to be seen. Wilson noted: "My window is going to be shorter."

That said, one team that will likely remain interested is Utah.

"They thought I was a pretty decent athlete for my size and I shot the ball well there, so that was something they were impressed by," Wilson said.

Those teams all hold selections in Wilson's projected range: Utah at #24 and #30, Orlando at #25, San Antonio at #29. If Wilson can get a guarantee from one of those teams, he's probably gone. If he doesn't, he may be uncomfortable enough with the uncertainty to head back to school for another year.

*Highly recommended for the scouting reports

WTKA Roundtable 5/4/2017: Like the WWE Network Except with Sports

WTKA Roundtable 5/4/2017: Like the WWE Network Except with Sports

Last one of the year guys.


No reason I just wanted to use this one and we’re running out of year [Eric Upchurch]

Things discussed:

  • Jaaron Simmons: His high turnovers and lots of bad twos are Ohio’s fault we think. Good on the P&R. Transition offense is only complaint that sticks.
  • DJ and Moe: Most have DJ in 2nd round and Moe not drafted but they’ll go to the deadline. No secret that they would go if either is a 1st rounder. Mo Bamba in a holding pattern.
  • Craig scouted winger Ignas Brazdeikis, a 2018 Lithuanian playing in Canada who reclassified from 2017. Phenomenal shooter, comfortable with both hands.
  • More thoughts on death of cable bundling/ESPN layoffs.
  • Search Engine Optimization: Nobody’s comfortable with that being the most important target for a content provider to be focused on.
  • Michigan State’s troubles: what’s taking so long? Waiting for a logical explanation (e.g. lost evidence).
  • America’s worst football coach comes at Harbaugh, then blocks Harbaugh. Tim Brewster’s block button is the Nixon’s List of 2017. I may have spent an unhealthy portion of yesterday trying to get on this list.
  • Craig submitted an article for HTTV about the 1880s that didn’t have enough about the Stevens Institute Game.
  • Will the NCAA legislate against Michigan going to Rome? Yes, because SEC coaches are shameless? No, because there’s no leg to stand on? Yes because that never stopped them before?

You can catch the entire episode on Michigan Insider's podcast stream on Audioboom.

Segment two is here. Segment three is here.


Basketbullets: Simmons Fit, Scholarships, Detroit In Detroit

Basketbullets: Simmons Fit, Scholarships, Detroit In Detroit

Submitted by Ace on April 25th, 2017 at 3:16 PM

Jaaron Simmons: How Does He Fit?

Simmons gets a lot of tough buckets at the basket.

Michigan added a significant piece to the roster late last night in Ohio grad transfer Jaaron Simmons, who's in line to be the starting point guard provided he doesn't jump to the NBA. While that seems unlikely given his draft stock—he's unranked on DraftExpress and listed as "likely undrafted" on NBADraftNet's rundown of potential early entrants—Simmons told MLive's Brendan Quinn he's discussing that possibility with John Beilein:

In a phone interview with MLive on Tuesday, Simmons said he is indeed transferring to Michigan and has accepted the program's lone available scholarship. However, having previously declared for the NBA Draft, he does not yet know if he will withdraw [and] spend next season in college basketball.

"I haven't decided yet," Jaaron Simmons said (pronounced "Juh-Ron"). "Me and coach (John) have been talking about that, but I haven't decided."

Simmons said he'll continue to talk to his family and Beilein about the choice to stay in the draft or withdraw and "come up with the decision that's best for me."

Simmons said whether he receives an invitation to the Draft Combine or not will not weigh in that decision. He said he does not have a timeline for his final decision, but does not plan on waiting until the NCAA's May 24 withdraw deadline.

Beilein can't comment on Simmons until he's officially added to the roster, but I can't imagine he'd accept a commitment for the last open 2017-18 scholarship without a pretty good idea that Simmons would withdraw from the draft. Unless his projection changes dramatically, it's hard to imagine Simmons would want to stay in the draft anyway.

Brian covered the basics on Simmons when news of his commitment broke last night. He's first and foremost a pick-and-roll creator, and he took on a huge usage load at Ohio, where his efficiency was hurt by having to create the vast majority of his shots. After the jump, I'll explore how he fits into the projected lineup for 2017-18.


Ohio PG Jaaron Simmons Transferring To Michigan

Ohio PG Jaaron Simmons Transferring To Michigan

Submitted by Brian on April 25th, 2017 at 12:50 AM


Odd time for this to break but it has indeed broken:

Simmons has an indifferent Kenpom profile and a remarkable Hoop Math profile. His sub-100 ORTG features 72/46/35 percent shooting on 28% usage, a ton of assists—21st in the country—and a post-like 22 TO rate. He was a bit more efficient as a sophomore, with 78/48/42 splits on 27% usage. His assist rate was sixth nationally, and he got to the line a lot more often.

At first blush that's not great but things get a lot more intriguing when you check out his Hoop Math peripherals. To wit, I have never seen a guy get less help from his teammates. Last year approximately 3% of Simmons's buckets from inside the arc were assisted, and just 35% of his threes. That is insane. To put that in perspective: Ohio had 772 made shots last year that were not putbacks. Simmons created 361 of those shots either by making an unassisted bucket or assisting a teammate. 47%. One guy.

this video does not end well for Ohio's coach

If Simmons can successfully downshift from "literally half his team's offense" to interchangeable Beilein component there's an efficient offensive player somewhere in there. Even money the first time Beilein's offense gets him a wide open three he breaks down in tears. A couple of twitter takes:

If three point shooting is the drawback for a guy who shot 35% when two thirds of his makes were jacks, eh, I'll take it. UMHoops put together scouting video for Simmons so you can judge for yourself:

If you're like me, about 60% of those shots from the first section gave you hives. Stepback long twos and whatnot. Simmons very much looks like a guy burdened with more responsibility than any one basketball player should be forced to shoulder. Given the context his 43% 2-point jumper shooting is truly impressive; the question is whether he'll be able to restrict those shots to late-clock situations now that he's going to be a third banana instead of bananas 1-3 and sometimes 4.