Michigan pledges Xavier Simpson and Ibi Watson shined at Flyin to the Hoop

Michigan commitments Ibi Watson and Xavier Simpson showed well in front of John Beilein at Flyin to the Hoop, and some other names clearly put themselves on the Wolverines radar.

The Flyin to the Hoop tournament always brings together many of the top teams in the Midwest, and from around the nation. This year the University of Michigan had two commitments playing in the event, and both performed well while another name or two might soon find their way onto the Michigan recruiting board.

Obviously for Michigan fans the greatest concern is the performance of the commitments Xavier Simpson and Ibi Watson, and Wolverine supporters will be happy to know both performed very well.

While a big time performance was expected from Simpson given his stature in the rankings and the level of competition he faced, it wasn’t as expected from Watson given that Pickerington Central was going up against API.

Watson finished with 26 points and while a decent amount of it was on runouts and uncontested layups, he also earned a lot of those points as well. Known best as a catch and shoot guy, Watson nailed a few threes and even though he missed a couple as well, the release looked pure and also quick.

Then Watson showed a bit more going to the rim than he has in the past. He was aggressive and playing with confidence, and with that he looked comfortable going to the rim and finishing against a long and athletic team.

Simpson finished with 22 points in a game that was never close. Quite honestly had Lima Senior wanted to win by 30 and Simpson wanted to finish with 30-plus points he probably could have. Lima Senior’s defense controlled the game and then Simpson made a ton of plays with his vision and strength as well.

If there was one disappointing thing it was that Simpson really struggled with his jumper. That has always been in a work in progress, but over the summer it looked better. On Monday night his footwork wasn’t consistent and that led to him missing, some of which were very bad misses.

On the bright side he did everything else well. His defense in Lima Senior’s fullcourt press was impressive and led to several steals. Also he dished off a bunch of assists, and was a major problem going to the rim.

Simpson continues to show he is one of the more college ready and complete point guards in the class. There is no doubt Michigan is going to have to find a place for Simpson to get significant minutes from day one, and he could even potentially push his way into the starting lineup if the Wolverines feel he and Derrick Walton can work together on the floor at the same time.

While those two are committed prospects, there is no doubt that Michigan will continue to look at Ohio prospects in the younger classes. The two most obvious names are Sterling Manley and Jordan Mitchell.

Manley is a class of 2017 center who stands near 6-foot-9 and attends Pickerington Central. He doesn’t have a high-major offer yet, but they could be coming. As a teammate of Watson, Michigan will see him quite a bit, and with solid athleticism and very good length, Manley could soon be high on the radar.

Mitchell is a class of 2019 prospect at Gahanna Lincoln who projects to be a near elite level recruit. While it is very likely that Ohio State will be tough to beat for a Columbus area kid, expect the Wolverines to at least do their due diligence with the big time wing prospect.

Overall with John Beilein in attendance it was a good showing for the Michigan commitments, and a few other names from the buckeye State should soon be receiving major attention from the Wolverines.


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