Xavier Simpson’s recruitment had its fair share of twist and turns, but that wasn’t because he was in love with the process. The four-star floor general just never experienced that feeling a prospect has when he knows he has found his future home… until last Sunday. That’s when he made his way to Ann Arbor for the first time and knew instantly Michigan had everything he was looking for.
“The experience was great,” said Simpson. “I prayed about a lot of things about a college that I would like to see and that I feel was best for me. When I went to Michigan it was definitely God showing me a big sign saying this is the school that I should attend. The atmosphere was great, the education part was terrific, the basketball program is great, the position I play is definitely… it can definitely prepare me for the next level. They actually think and believe in me that I can go to the next level. Which most coaches kind of did but they kind of didn’t say and kind of didn’t believe.”
At one time Simpson counted the Wolverines among those that didn’t believe, but the program’s reputation and a ringing endorsement from the father of a former Michigan great helped convince him to keep an open mind.
“My assistant coach for AAU, Steve Wright, he told me a lot about Michigan and he asked why they weren’t recruiting me. So when they came into the picture I definitely looked into them a lot. My dad talked to Trey Burke’s dad. We were thinking about not letting them come into the process because it was kind of late. But it’s a sign of God saying to be patient.”
That patience was rewarded when he was given an in-depth glimpse of how well he would fit in in Ann Arbor. He was also struck by the instant rapport he forged with the coaching staff.
“The first time I met Coach Beilein when I went down there, he showed me his offense and assistant coaches told me about his offense,” Simpson said. “That definitely helped. I watched Trey Burke when he was there. Obviously he let Trey Burke go… let him do his thing. But at the same time, Trey Burke did his thing and he made the right plays at the right time. So Coach Beilein, just having the offense, I feel like it’s a pretty good offense for me and I’m just ready to see what the next step takes me.”
“Bacari Alexander… he’s definitely a character,” Simpson later added. “He’s funny. His humor is definitely going to get you. He’s a nice a guy. He’s the guy that recruited me, stayed on me. He would text me every day verses of scriptures. Stuff like that, little things like that, just mean a lot.”
Another of the “little things” that made a large impression during Simpson’s visit was his interaction with Jim Harbaugh.
“He’s definitely a character,” Simpson stated. He’s nice. He’s an open character. He’s nice, funny guy. He keeps you going he’ll definitely have a smile on your face for the type of guy he is he is definitely humble and a nice person.”
“He tried to play a little one-on-one with an imaginary basketball. He did a little spin move. He has a great character. He’ll definitely keep you smiling.”
As exciting as that whirlwind experience was Simpson is glad it’s all behind him. With his recruitment now out the way he can focus on finishing out his high school career on a high note and getting a ready as possible to contribute in whatever way Michigan needs him to when he gets there.
“(The Michigan coaches) are talking about, basically, just developing me for the next level and see where things go from there,” Simpson said. “Whether that’s making plays my freshman, sophomore, junior, or senior year, they’re talking about developing me for the next level. If I work hard, stay healthy and do the things I need to do, I’ll definitely get a chance to explore my talents up there.”