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Former Ohio guard Jaaron Simmons transferring to Michigan


The University of Michigan hoops program could be entering next season with an entirely new starting five. With the graduation of seniors Derrick Walton Jr. and Zak Irvin, along with the premature exits of junior D.J. Wilson and Moe Wagner, the Wolverines will need guys to step up in a big way.

However, they did receive good news on Tuesday. Former Ohio University guard Jaaron Simmons has confirmed that he is transferring to Michigan as a graduate, making him immediately eligible to play next season.

Simmons was a first-team All-MAC selection this past season, averaging just under 16 points per game along with 6.5 assist per. He spent two seasons at Ohio (2015-17) after transferring over from the University of Houston, where he spent one season as a freshman (2013-14).

He’s played 98 career games as a college player. He only averaged 11 minutes per game with Houston, but got a significant upgrade in playing time in production after transferring to Ohio.

What Simmons would provide for Michigan is an immediate fill-in for Derrick Walton Jr., a guy that can both score and facilitate on offense. Freshman Xavier Simpson appears to be the point guard of the future in Ann Arbor. However, Simpson played in all 38 games but averaged just 8.7 minutes per contest and less than 2.0 points per game.

One can expect his playing time and production to increase noticeably, but having a veteran like Simmons could be resourceful to both Simpson and the team.

WHAT IT MEANS FOR MICHIGAN

NCAA Basketball: Michigan at Minnesota
Feb 19, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach John Beilein in the second half against the Minnesota Gophers at Williams Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

An interesting note about Simmons is that he has already entered his name into the NBA Draft with the one year of eligibility remaining. He has until May 24 to withdraw his name from draft consideration, should he want to sign transfer papers and attend Michigan.

This news of Simmons adds another wrinkle to how the Michigan roster could shake out. Per Mark Snyder of the Free Press, “it’s believed U-M has only one available scholarship for next season and that was open for five-star high school forward prospect Mohamed Bamba, who hasn’t announced his intentions yet.”

Bamba is believe to be a top-3 high school prospect that is undecided, but Michigan is listed as a contender for his services, according to 247Sports.

Michigan has four open scholarships heading into next season after graduating four seniors, including Mark Donnal, who has said he will transfer after graduating.. Three of the four will go to their incoming freshman class of 2017, led by Kalamazoo Central big man Isaiah Livers, who has signed his national letter of intent already.

That fourth one would presumably go to Simmons if he pulls back from NBA consideration and uses his final year of college eligibility. Of course, if both Moe Wagner and D.J. Wilson stay committed to the pro level, that opens up two more scholarship slots.

Written by Alex Muller

MSU Graduate. Just a city boy born and raised in south Detroit. Baseball is life, a pitcher at heart. Freelance writer for MIPrepZone (News-Herald, Press & Guide).

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