The wait finally came to an end earlier this week for Orchard Lake St. Mary’s dual sport star Dion Sims. After weeks of looking for an offer from the University of Michigan, it at long last came. When he finally put his hands on it, his visible response was more than many around him expected.
“He knew it was coming because we had talked to him right when he got out of school around 3:00pm that day,” Dion’s father, Don Sims recalled. “I called him and told him that I had the letter in hand and that I would be bringing it to him after his game. After the game, which they’d won, he was in a good mood. Everybody was greeting him and I finally went up to him and I said, ‘good game.’ Then when we were walking out I said ‘I’ve got something else for you.’ He said, ‘oh yeah!’ When I handed it to him he just had a grin from ear to ear, man. He was actually grinning from ear to ear. He said, ‘yeah, 'yeah I know what this is.' He took the letter, and he and his mom and his girlfriend walked away together and he was pretty excited about it. I think it was just a relief that he had gotten the offer from Michigan because it’s something that we had been hearing was coming for a while. Just to know that, ‘hey, they really are interested in me’ was a relief to him.”
“His mom was smiling and laughing about it too,” Mr. Sims continued. “I said to her, ‘hey, this envelope is worth hundreds of thousands of dollars because that’s what a scholarship amounts to nowadays. So what I’m handing you is worth a lot.’ She laughed and said, ‘that’s right.’ She’s starting to pick up on that too... that every kid can’t get a scholarship, let alone to major universities like Dion is getting. So she was very excited about the letter.”
Dion, who was a frequent visitor at Michigan games last year, had seen his feelings about the Wolverines level off considerably after the dismissal of former basketball headman Tommy Amaker (with whom he had formed a strong bond). Both the football and basketball programs maintained their interest in the subsequent months, as demonstrated by their visits to his school. However, it wasn’t until recently that he began to feel like major steps toward rebuilding the bridge to Ann Arbor were taking place. En lieu of John Beilein making it by one of his games last week and Rich Rodriguez making clear his desire to see Sims in a winged helmet, things are once again looking up for the Maize & Blue.
“When you talk about Michigan…all of his friends are big Michigan fans and they all covet an offer from Michigan,” Mr. Sims said. “To a man a lot of those kids say, ‘well hey, if I’ve got an opportunity to go there and they want me, I’m going.’ Dion has got a powerhouse school right in his backyard. I’m not saying that Michigan is his final call… that he is going to attend there. We don’t know that. It’s just a great honor for him to be considered that caliber of player to be recruited by a school like a Michigan. And he understands that. He grew up seeing Michigan, seeing the players that came out of the city, and seeing the players from all over the country that have gone there and done big things. He understands the power that the school has.”
While it’s clear that Rodriguez’s offer letter afforded him more traction in his pursuit of Sims, there is still a big battle ahead. There are other suitors receiving strong consideration as well. That makes the one-on-one time Michigan’s new headman spends with Sims in the coming days…(first at Sunday’s basketball game against Purdue and then at Thursday’s junior day)… all the more important.
“(The personal interaction) is something that will come,” Sims said referring to the upcoming meetings between his son and Rodriguez. “Dion just hasn’t had the opportunity to talk to Coach Rodriguez. He saw him at one of the practices. Rodriguez came up to watch Dion practice basketball. Dion knew he was there, he knew when he left…he knows he was the West Virginia guy. Kids in this era know about that spread… they know about Pat White…and there’s a kid named Noel Devine that is very popular among their crew. So they know what Rodriguez has put out. Dion will have the opportunity to sit with him and see what he has to say about him having the opportunity to do the dual-sport thing at Michigan. That’s really something that he is coveting right now. He is doing so well at basketball… he had 30 points (Wednesday night) in the regional championship (the Eaglets defeated Brighton 87-56). They will play in the quarters on Tuesday. At the stage that Dion is at, he still has a whole year and some change to really decide what he wants but he is intrigued by the opportunity to do a dual-sport at a major school. That will be a heavy topic of conversation between him and Rich Rodriguez.”
Stay tuned to GoBlueWolverine for more on Rodriguez in the coming days.