Having made Gig Harbor (WA) Peninsula four-star point guard JaQuori McLaughlin and West Linn (OR) High four-star guard Payton Pritchard top priorities in the class, Wisconsin extended another four-star point guard – Lima (OH) High Xavier Simpson – a scholarship Tuesday night.
While Wisconsin head coach Bo Ryan has been involved in his recruitment, the main brunt of the recruiting work on the 5-10, 155-pound Simpson has been done by assistant coach Lamont Paris, who played high school basketball with Simpson’s dad, Quincey.
“I’ve known him for years,” Quincey Simpson told BadgerNation about Paris. “I didn’t get a chance to talk to Bo Ryan until (Tuesday). Lamont has seen us the last couple years. He’s seen Xavier’s progression and has been to several of his games in July the last couple of years. I haven’t seen Coach Bo at any of our games but according to (Paris), he watched some film and was sold on Xavier.
“It’s one of those things where if you watch Xavier the first time you aren’t blown away. It’s not a highlight reel, but the more you watch him the more you get a better understanding of what he can do and what he can do for the guys around him. I think that’s what turning people on heavy to him.”
In Simpson’s eyes, the big change is his son’s willingness to be aggressive with his shot selection. After being hesitant taking charge a year ago, Simpson has put in work to consistently take and make shots, evident by his 19.2 points per game average at the Peach Jam tournament last month.
“He’s spent a lot of time just shooting,” said Simpson. “A lot of people can tell he’s got a lot stronger and different things, but I see him every day and being able to demonstrate he can take and make those shots has been big.”
Outside of the Badgers’ back-to-back runs to the Final Four, Simpson admits the family hasn’t followed Wisconsin much over the last several months. While the family started to research the school, they saw a program that accentuates the player’s abilities.
“From talking to those guys, the system they run allows players to make plays,” said Simpson. “Once you go to a coach who is going to allow that, it makes things easier, particularly for a point guard.”
Rated a four-star prospect and the No.55 overall prospect in the country by Scout.com, Simpson is targeting a mid-September decision time line. With his dad saying all the school who have offered him are still under considerations, Simpson has already taken an official visit to Iowa State and plans to take one to Illinois this weekend and Miami September 11-13. Short thereafter, a decision has a chance to be made within that next week.
“Every time we get close (to making a decision), a couple more schools jump in,” said Simpson. “The timeframe is still the same. We want to get it done the middle of September. That’s where we’re standing at. It’s not going to go past there. We’re not going to be holding schools off.”
But even though Wisconsin has entered the pictured late, the Simpsons plan on giving the Badgers an in-depth look before deciding.
“Wisconsin is big,” Simpson said. “The longevity and stability of the program is very high for us in making this decision. We definitely want to visit. We have a free weekend between Illinois and Miami, so we’re hoping to get to Wisconsin. Their roster is full of solid players, I’ve known Lamont for years and Coach Ryan’s resume speaks for itself.”