University of Michigan

Michigan basketball announces signing of four members of 2016 class

Early signing day for college basketball saw Michigan announce four members of its 2016 class sending in their letter of intents on Wednesday.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- The beginning of the early signing day period was a busy one for the Michigan basketball program as it officially announced four members of the 2016 class had sent in their letter of intents on Wednesday.

Center Austin Davis, guard Xavier Simpson, center Jon Teske and forward Ibi Watson will officially be joining the Wolverines for the 2016-2017 academic year.

"All four of these young men are a great fit for Michigan Basketball both academically and athletically," U-M head coach John Beilein said in a statement. "They are hardworking and high achieving kids who come from good families and really love the game. We are excited to see the potential of this class and know they have the capabilities to help us compete and win future Big Ten championships."

The six-foot Simpson transfered to Lima Senior High School after spending two seasons at Lima Catholic Central to be with his father who was named head coach of the school. He led his team to a 22-5 record his first season and a conference runner-up finish. He finished that season average 19.8 points per game, eight assists and three steals per game.

Beilein recognizes Simpson's basketball intelligence as a value addition to his squad in the future.

"Xavier is a tough, competitive point guard who makes the players around him better," Beilein said. "Being the son of a coach, he has a tremendous basketball IQ and will do whatever it takes to win, whether that is scoring, diving for the loose ball or just finding the open man. He is an elite defender and balances that with his command of the game and leading his team on the floor."

Beilein also raved about the abilities of six-foot-five forward Watson. Another Ohio high school transfer, Watson averaged around 19 points per game last season with Pickerington Central. During his two varsity seasons at Athens High School, he also won back-to-back conference titles. Despite the high school success, Beilein is enamored with the high ceilein Watson has to offer.

"We love the high ceiling for Ibi," said Beilein said of Watson. "He has a tremendous passion for the game and with his work ethic we have seen improvement year to year. He has the desire to become a great player. He can really shoot and pass the ball. We also love his athleticism and feel for the game. He comes from a winning program and we know he will be prepared for the challenges ahead."

U-M manged to secure big men with six-foot-10 Davis and the seven-footer Teske. Both are currently enjoying success at the high school level and are focal points of their respective offenses. Davis earned Division 1 All-Ohio special mention honors averaging 12 points per game, nine rebounds and five blocks per game.

Beilein has high hopes for Davis to eventually become a success big man in his offense.

"The first thing you notice is Jon's size; however, he is very agile and skilled for a big man," Beilein said. "He can really run the floor and is a defensive presence in the middle. Jon is a true rim protector with his shot blocking ability. He is an excellent shooter as well as a passer. As he gains upper body strength and develops physically, his game will continue to mature, and he will be able to compete and be successful as a Big Ten center."

An in-state product, Teske was named the 2015 Associated Press Class B Player of the Year on top of first team all-state honors. He finished the season averaging 26 points per game, 17.3 rebounds and just under five blocks per game.

Like the rest of his recruits, Beilein is excited for the ceileing and potential Teske will bring to his team.

"Austin is a strong low post player who has great presence in the middle," Beilein said. "He finishes well around the rim, rebounds well and has excellent passing skills. He has exceptional length and has really put in the work to improve his strength and physical conditioning. We love his great attitude, passion for the game and that he loves the University of Michigan. Austin is young for his grade, as he just turned 17 this past July, so his best days are ahead of him."


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