TOLEDO, Ohio – Xavier Simpson scored at will in his first two match-ups against Freemont (Ohio) Ross, scoring 59 and 65 points respectively.
So he knew on Wednesday in Lima (Ohio) Senior’s opening sectional playoff game, that Ross was going to try to do everything possible to stop him from scoring at will again.
Well, Freemont Ross somewhat succeeded this time around, holding Simpson to only 21 points. But while he was held 41 points below his average in his first two meetings, Lima Senior had no issues defeating Ross for the third time this season, winning away handily, 91-42, at host Toledo Central Catholic.
“I mean, if a guy scores 59 and 65 the first two games, I mean, I would hope the coaching staff and players would kind of know to pay special attention (to me),” Simpson said afterwards. “Tonight was basically, we’re just trying to take it game by game by game. It’s really not about the points I have or the next player has, we’re just trying to keep winning, and hopefully we can keep on going.”
On Friday, Lima defeated Anthony Wayne in a Division I boys basketball sectional championship, 70-65, moving to 24-0 on the season.
Simpson, who has been committeds to Michigan since September, admits his game has transitioned nicely during his senior season at Lima.
“My game has progressed, because I can out shoot (my opponent),” Simpson said. “That forces the defense to come pressure me or they’ll leave me open for open jump shots. I’m also a pass first type of guy, so if I can’t pass or shoot, I can do other things to get my team involved, which is important.”
In the meantime, Simpson says his plan is to continue improving his conditioning before he arrives on campus this June.
“I just want to get quicker, get faster, get stronger,” he said. “I want to build a deeper range on my jump shot. And really work on small things that will improve my game.”
As far as his thoughts on U-M’s current season, Simpson is hopeful the Wolverines will make a splash in March madness.
“I just hope they have a chance to make the (NCAA Tournament),” Simpson said. “I’m pretty sure they’ll do good. Coach (John) Beilein is a good coach. They have a great coaching staff. I’m just hoping they make (tournament). I’m pretty sure they’ll make a statement from there.”
And looking back on his commitment, Simpson still holds true to the reason he chose to become a Wolverine in the fall.
“It just felt like home,” he said. “Just stepping back on campus for the unofficial visit, it just felt like home. It felt like god gave the sign that is the college that I need to attend, with great education, a great atmosphere and not too far from home. They definitely send kids to the next level. It was all the things I was looking for. It was like checklist, and the things were checked.”