Brendan Quinn on Jaaron Simmons

Submitted by Indy Pete - Go Blue on February 15th, 2018 at 4:27 PM

Incredible article on The Athletic by Brendan Quinn.  If you are not a member and not a poor college student, you should consider subscribing.  BQ's content is fantastic.  Dylan Burkhardt also has some great UM bball stuff there.  The article title is:

"The vexing journey of Jaaron Simmons' lone season at Michigan"

If you don't admire and respect Simmons, you will after this article.  He has an incredible attitude.  He is honest about the situation.  He chooses to focus on the positive.  He cares about winning.  Count me in as a card carrying member of the Jaaron Simmons fan club.

Some of Simmons' quotes:

"What are you going to do?  You gon' quit?  Well, that's not in me.  It's not in my blood."

"He (Beilein) knows that this is not exactly how I wanted it to go.  But he sees that I'm a team-first guy.  I'm all about winning.  I mean, yo, we're a top 25 team in the country.  I've never been in the top 25.  There are way more positives in all of this than negatives.  That's how I look at it"…


Gulo Gulo Luscus

February 15th, 2018 at 4:47 PM ^

I think Jaaron has been given more minutes lately in no small part due to Z's struggles at the line. Granted he hasn't shot many FT this year in limited opportunity but he's around 75% for the career. If he can keep that up and be a smart ball handler, it's an obvious upgrade in late game situations.

I like what he's shown the past couple games and am happy to hear he's got a positive attitude about a major change in role compared to being the alpha at OU. I expect he has earned a lot more trust from JB already.

Space Coyote

February 15th, 2018 at 4:48 PM ^

The more he understands the offense and defense, and the more he also understands his role on the team, the more minutes he's going to continue to get. He's a very different player than Z, and if last night is any example, he can provide a bit of a spark off the bench from the PG position. If he continues to grow in his comfort of his role and what Beilein is asking him to do, then I expect him to continue to get regular minutes going forward.

Gulo Gulo Luscus

February 15th, 2018 at 5:09 PM ^

Good point on the defensive side. Simmons has shown he can be a spark on offense but is a downgrade from Z on the other end. He will have to show a rounded game to earn regular minutes.

But if we are holding a late game lead, the 25% upgrade shooting FTs will trump any defensive liability as long as he can wisely dribble or pass his way out of a trap. Optimally he shows that ability AND Z gets over the yips (bend the knees!) so we don't have to hold our collective breath in a dogfight come tourney time.


February 15th, 2018 at 5:59 PM ^

because he's (likely) a better 3 point shooter than Z.  And Z's strength - driving the lane and either scoring or drawing help and then dishing - is mostly eliminated by a zone.

Also, playing a zone is pretty standard for all teams - move the ball, penetrate the seams, and flash to open spots in the zone - so he knows how to do that a lot better than running Beilien's offense because he's been playing zones his whole life and only been in Beilein's offense for a year.

I would love to see him start hitting pull up threes off the pick and roll but since we've seen a lot more turnovers from him than made shots, I don't have high hopes with only three regular season games left.  I would think his playing time would correlate closely to the amount of zone we see the rest of the way (which could a lot, could be almost none).

This is a really good attitude though.  Much respect to Jaaron.  I've wondered all year if he wishes he had stayed at Ohio or went somewhere else. He challenged himself and it hasn't worked out.  Really good of him to keep fighting.


February 15th, 2018 at 6:49 PM ^

Vexing:  feel annoyed, frustrated, or worried

Mystery:  something that is difficult or impossible to understand or explain

You can feel annoyed:  with yourself, with the way MSU is handling the Nassar debacle, with the slow progress of the offensive line. None of these things are a "mystery." There are plenty of mysteries that aren't necessarily annoying.

uncle leo

February 15th, 2018 at 4:45 PM ^

What I see from Simmons on the court lately. He's bigger and stronger than Simpson, has a better shot, and seems to be gelling with the team. 

He scored 16 ppg or whatever at Ohio for a reason. He's not a slouch. Simpson does his damn best, and gets to the rim surprinsgly well, but he's pretty limited. If Simmons can get it together, hit FTs, stretch the defense, and lead this team, he's gotta be the option going forward.


February 15th, 2018 at 5:55 PM ^

because he shot a lot.  He was very inefficient last year with a 99 Ortg.  Had a high TO rate, and just ok shooting percentages.

The question for him coming in was whether the high TO rate and low efficiency was because he had to carry to large a load on a team with MAC players as his supporting cast. 

It's been increasingly evident he's just not that good and probably appeared better because he was playing against MAC players.  Absolutely no way he overtakes Z.  Would be nice if he can keep the TOs down enough and play decent enough defense to at least be an option against zones like he was last night.


February 15th, 2018 at 4:50 PM ^

I think the challenge Simmons continues to have is that he's been benched in large part because he's made so many mistakes (gambling on defense, turnovers, etc.).  But he's too talented to just be conservative and he's only going to help the team by being somewhat aggressive.  I think Eli Brooks got benched because he wasn't taking ANY chances and added nothing on the court.  Finding the right mix is the challenge.

I also like what I've seen lately and I think there might be a big game hiding in there still this season.  

The Fugitive

February 15th, 2018 at 4:52 PM ^

He's had more and more positive moments in the last few games. He's still not as trustworthy as Z even tho he may be the better offensive option.

For example, he turned the ball over but followed it up with a beautiful pass up court to MAAR for an easy lay up. If he cleans up the turnovers I can see him continuing to eat into Zs minutes.

Good energy on defense too.


February 15th, 2018 at 4:54 PM ^

The Athletic is worth every penny.  Their content, authors, no ads.  Much better than the general cliche writing at local DET newspaper websites.


February 15th, 2018 at 5:04 PM ^

How huge of a boost would it be if things are starting to click for Simmons? 

Can't have been easy to come in and learn a totally different style of offense. Seems like he has a great attitude, and his recent play and increase in minutes have been encouraging. We know he's got the talent, maybe he's got a better handle on how to utilize that in Beilein's offense now.

Would be really great to see him finish the season strong and be another weapon off the bench heading into the tournament. Especially in late game situations as mentioned above. 

Pepper Brooks

February 15th, 2018 at 5:16 PM ^

Other than the early turnover, he looked great.  The long assist to MAAR in transition was really nice, and when he hit that 3 I thought he might just be able to help this team after all!


February 15th, 2018 at 5:25 PM ^

Prior to the season I thought Simmons had the best chance to become the starting PG. However, as others have pointed out he made too many mistakes and his defense was subpar. Plus Simpson made his case as a first rate defensive pest. Beilein might have hung in with Simmons, but every time Simpson was playing minutes, other teams were struggling even if Simpson struggled to make open perimeter shots. Prior to the last game, Simmons was the only player with meaningful minutes that generated a net negative in advanced metrics. So him sitting a lot was not for Beilein trying. I thought the experiment was over after Wisc when Simmons came in and the bad guys promptly went on a 10-0 run. It seemed like OSU all over again. I think Beilein realizes this team has a cap on what it can do in the tournament. If Simmons can get it and there is a combo threat at PG, there is something to be had. So he keeps pushing hoping that Simmons can fit in. This is all house money because none of us thought UM could be better then a borderline tourney team. So lets go for it.


February 15th, 2018 at 5:40 PM ^

Thanks for sharing!  This makes me want to subscribe.  Gotta admire Simmons a lot for his attitude and his accomplishments in college basketball at Ohio and at Michigan (and hopefully with some more good games like last night's still to come).


February 15th, 2018 at 6:08 PM ^

Come tourney time, we are going to need some depth and especially if/when Z struggles.  Good to have Simmons's experience and would love to see his confidence peaking at the right time.

Thanks for sharing.


UM Griff

February 15th, 2018 at 6:28 PM ^

Along with MAAR and DR. It might not be a problem that we keep finding different ways to win - it is good that we have different players that can step up in subsequent games.


February 15th, 2018 at 6:41 PM ^

Simmons looked comfortable out there against Iowa for the first time all season.  Yeah he still made one terrible pass, but the rest of the time he looked like he was just getting the ball and GOING, rather than being tenative.  The other times I've seen him, it looked like he was thinking too much. 

It's probably really hard to come into the Beilein offense and trying to adjust in just one year as a PG. 


February 15th, 2018 at 6:57 PM ^

Beilein's system is murder on point guards their first season.  Considering his experience, I think he will be fine by March.  He has three regular season games and at least one BTT game before the Tournament.  One good part about the extra week off before the tournament is that there will be a lot of time for him to practice.

If...and I know this is highly unlikely...but if Lunardi's projection today was accurate, our region would be like manna from heaven.  I'd take being a 6-seed if the top four teams in our region is Xavier, Auburn, Clemson and OSU.  There's still time for his patience to be rewarded.


February 15th, 2018 at 7:21 PM ^

Problem I see with him is we haven't really seen him drive. If he can get that part of his game going then I think he would be fine. Don't have to score but be able to drive and kick out. Basically just create.


February 15th, 2018 at 10:48 PM ^

is that nobody learns JB's offense in year 1.  Let's not forget that while the play of the freshmen helped get us to the NC game, Burke (a sophomore) and Morgan (a senior) did lots of lfting to make the O go.  (Though McGary was magical and surgical in the 'cuse game against the zone.)

Let's hope Simmons' new playtime is representative of him 'getting it'.  That could be a great boost to a March march.