Ohio schoolboy Xavier Simpson is not the type of player that will blow you away. No highlight reels. No showboating. No trash talking. He's just plain steady.
That was clearly evident in the two games he played April 25 at the Lexington Preview with Northwestern assistant coach Armon Gates looking on. The 6-foot point guard played like the coach's son he is, averaging 14.5 points, three assists, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 steals.
The No. 13th rated 2016 point guard in the nation dictated the tempo, scored when the opportunity presented itself, and made an impact on defense. In essence, the court was his stage and he was the lead vocalist, literally. He was constantly communicating with his King James (5-3) teammates, shouting instructions up and down the court, as well as, inside the huddle.
Simpson possesses great quickness and uses it to his advantage by constantly attacking the rim. And he finishes well for his size over bigs. If he can't finish, he kicks it back out to the open man or sets up a teammate for a lob-dunk. The youngster plays with grit and toughness and when he is running the team, everybody around him plays better. Not to mention, he obviously has great floor vision.
During the entire Nike EYBL Spring Session, "X" has been a model of consistency, averaging 14.0 points, 3.6 assists, 2.6 rebounds, and 2.2 steals. He is shooting 49 percent from the field, 72 percent from the foul line, and 33 percent from the 3-point stripe after eight games.
Simpson needs work on his outside shooting technique. He shoots it from his face. He needs to bring it up higher. That requires more strength which will require more weightlifting. He knows that and is consciously working on it.
Last summer was huge for Xavier. He cemented his place among the 4-Stars by picking up multiple offers thanks to his play with King James 16u team, leading them to the Elite 8 of Nike's Sweet 16, and the Final Four of the AAU Super Showcase.
Watch the video. He reminds me of a former Indiana star years ago, named Isaiah Thomas.
Interesting story. As a sophomore, he guided Lima Central Catholic (OH) to a State Division-III Ohio Championship in 2014. In that game LCC defeated Cleveland Villa Angelo-St. Joseph 64-62 and Simpson paved the way with 18 points, three assists, and two steals. That summer, he had the breakout AAU season and then transferred to Lima Senior to play for his father, Quincy. He made an immediate impact his junior year, averaging 24 points, six rebounds, and six assists. The Spartans finished the season 22-5, losing to Lakewood St. Edward in the regional finals by a 50-42 score.
Simpson's senior season looks promising and I'm sure he will receive more offers along the way. So far, he has received eight offers: four from the B1G, as well as Cleveland State, Toledo, Xavier, and Iowa State. Also, Butler and Indiana are showing strong interest.
Asked about the recruiting process, Simpson told Brian Neubert of Rivals:
I'm just taking it slow, trying to evaluate and figure out what's the best school for me. There's no rush. We're just trying to take it slow and enjoy the process.
Simpson has plenty of time to decide. The next signing period this year is the second Wednesday in November through the third Wednesday (One Week). Then again in 2016, it is from the third Wednesday in April through the third Wednesday in May (Six Weeks).
Here is a list of the recruiting battles among the B1G schools in dire need of a point guard in 2016:
The Iowa Hawkeyes made the most recent offer April 16. Head Coach Fran McCaffrey will lose two point guards to graduation after next season. He has one 2016 commit in Cordell Pems, but he is a 6'7" power forward. Iowa will have four or five scholarships to offer.
The Purdue Boilermakers made an offer earlier this spring. They will have five scholarships available in 2016 (Bryson Scott transferred). Head Coach Matt Painter will be needing a point guard to provide leadership and consistent results.
Head Coach John Groce of Illinois is keeping tabs on Simpson during the first evaluation period after he offered in January. Groce recently added to his list of 2016 point guards C.J. Walker of Indianapolis Arsenal Tech.
The most intriguing of the B1G schools is Northwestern. Chris Collins is in his third year and trying to build a solid program. He has three commits from the Class of 2015 and one from 2016. I believe the Wildcats will only have one or two scholarships left, but Simpson would be a solid choice to build a team around.
Northwestern has never had meaningful success, so it's not as if Collins is painting over a Rembrandt, rather, building the Pyramids one brick at a time.
And so, there you have it. The breakdowns and get-downs of Xavier Simpson. One (true) point guard.