August 11, 2023
Michigan basketball standout Zavier Simpson already knows his curfew with Detroit Pistons
Take a glimpse at an NBA roster, and there’s a solid chance you’ll see a Michigan alumnus. Jordan Poole, who famously sent the Wolverines to the Sweet 16 in 2018 with a buzzer-beating 3-pointer, is an NBA champion and was traded to the Washington Wizards this offseason. Duncan Robinson has made two NBA Finals appearances with the Miami Heat. The Wagner brothers — Franz and Moritz — play for the Orlando Magic. Of course, Isaiah Livers is entering his third season with the Detroit Pistons . The list goes on, including a pair of Wolverines (Kobe Bufkin and Jett Howard) drafted this summer. But Poole, Robinson and the Wagners are all former teammates and Friends of Zavier Simpson, the winningest player in Michigan basketball history. The 6-foot point guard is still anchoring himself as a professional basketball player, four years after graduating. And he’s optimistic that his breakthrough will come with the Pistons. “We’re all really close, so just being able to hear their experiences and being able to maintain those relationships is good,” Simpson told the Free Press via phone Wednesday. “But at the same time, I’m always thinking to myself, 'It’s my time to crack that level.' It’s my time to get my two feet into the league and showcase who I am as a professional and as a player, and that I can help an NBA team. That motivates me every single day, to know that I was doing the same grind with these guys three or four years ago, and now they’re at a different level reaching their peak. “I feel like it’s only a matter of time before I have an opportunity to showcase that and be able to go to the next journey of my career.” BIG WINNER IN VEGAS: Cade Cunningham's performance raises stakes for coming season ANOTHER WOLVERINE: Pistons' Isaiah Livers knows his key to success next season is staying healthy Simpson — known for his hook shot and standout four-year career — is grateful to be close to home. The Lima, Ohio, native signed an Exhibit 10 contract with the Pistons in July, giving him an opportunity to compete for a more permanent role during training camp. He has spent the past few weeks training at the Pistons’ practice facility in Midtown and Michigan’s athletic facilities in Ann Arbor. Since his college career concluded in 2020, he has had cups of coffee in the NBA. But being just 40 minutes from Ann Arbor, and two hours from his hometown, makes this opportunity stand out in a different way. “It’s tremendous,” Simpson said. Being able to be back here, it’s almost like home. Being able to play for the University of Michigan and have a tremendous career, and being able also to come here in Detroit and also play. It’s phenomenal. I’m excited, I love it and obviously the new coaching staff is coming in, which is phenomenal. Blessed to be a part of it, and it’s home so just want to keep working and do the most I can with the opportunity, and leave the results to the results. Simpson has been leaning on the advice he’s gotten from Isaiah Livers, his teammate who also played four seasons at Michigan from 2017-21 before the Pistons selected him in the second round of the 2021 draft. He attended Livers’ wedding earlier this summer, and the two were exchanging texts during Simpson’s interview with the Free Press. “He knows a lot about the organization because he’s playing there, and I’m just here to soak up as much information as I can so I can have an opportunity and whatever that presents,” Simpson said. "We talk a lot about it, but at the same time I just have to make sure that I’m staying ready.” Prior to officially signing with the Pistons, Simpson joined the team during Las Vegas Summer League in early July. His trademark steadiness with the ball — he’s second all-time in Michigan’s record book with 667 assists — was on display in the desert, as he was fourth on the roster in assists per game despite only averaging 11.9 minutes. Beyond showcasing his game on the floor, Simpson also embraced a leadership role in Vegas. It’s a bit ironic, considering Simpson was also battling for his place in the NBA. But he has long prided himself on his leadership and was a multi-year captain at Michigan. He’s been around long enough to know the ins-and-outs of Summer League, and his younger teammates leaned on him as a Vegas veteran. “Definitely wearing both hats,” he said. “I’m wearing both hats, but at the same time I still feel young because I haven’t been able to hit that next level of success just yet. That’s my goal, but at the same time I’ve been around basketball, winning basketball, doing the right things as a professional since college. I feel a little bit older, but at the same time I have to remind myself I’m still a young guy. I still have to give a little bit more.” Simpson didn't play in Summer League the summer following his 2020 graduation, due to the Coronavirus pandemic. But he signed with the Oklahoma City Blue — the Thunder’s G League affiliate — the following spring and re-signed with them in fall 2021. He was called up to the parent club eventually, making his NBA debut with the Thunder on April 5, 2022 . In four games, he averaged 11 points, 7.5 assists and 1.3 steals. He spent last season with Orlando’s G League affiliate, the Lakeland Magic. But his taste of NBA action in Oklahoma City showed him that he has what it takes to stick in the league, he said. Simpson put together an impressive resume at Michigan, helping lead the team to two Sweet 16s and a national championship appearance. As a senior, he became the fourth player in program history to log 500 career assists and just the second to reach 600. His final season wasn’t without interruption, however. He served a one-game suspension after missing curfew , but that same night on Jan. 26, he received a civil infraction for speeding and crashing the car of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel’s wife, Chrislan, into a pole around 3 a.m. following a 64-62 loss to Illinois. Simpson initially gave a false name to police, and denied his role in the crash. Simpson declined to go into specifics about what led to the accident, but he made it clear that he wants to be remembered as a leader and a winner. He’s looking forward to returning to campus and giving guidance to the younger athletes, as former players did for him. And he’s eager to see where his latest chapter in Detroit will take him. “I just learned how to be in for curfew,” Simpson said. “I just follow the rules for curfew, a lot of things can be avoided. And just listen to the coach. There’s a mandated curfew, so that time is 10 o’clock. I should be in at 9:59 at the latest. “Sometimes in life you just have to be thankful. A lot of things could’ve happened in a different direction, but it didn’t by the grace of God. Just being able to look at that and be grateful. Grateful for myself, grateful for the team being able to have my back, grateful for the University of Michigan’s coaching staff and our athletic director Warde Manuel being able to have my back and just being there for me. But it goes back to just following the rules. But at the same time, grateful I’m here. That situation is in the past and I’m moving forward.” Contact Omari Sankofa II at osankofa@freepress.com . Follow him on Twitter @omarisankofa . Listen to "The Pistons Pulse" with new episodes each week, wherever you listen to podcasts. Catch all of our podcasts and daily voice briefing at freep.com/podcasts .
Related Stories
Latest News
Top news around the world
Academy Awards

‘Oppenheimer’ Reigns at Oscars With Seven Wins, Including Best Picture and Director

Get the latest news about the 2024 Oscars, including nominations, winners, predictions and red carpet fashion at 96th Academy Awards

Around the World

Celebrity News

> Latest News in Media

Watch It
JoJo Siwa Reveals She Spent $50k on This Cosmetic Procedure
April 08, 2024
tilULujKDIA
Gypsy Rose Blanchard Files for Divorce from Ryan Anderson
April 08, 2024
kjqE93AL4AM
Bachelor Nation’s Trista Sutter Shares Update on Husband’s Battle With Lyme Disease | E! News
April 08, 2024
mNBxwEpFN4Y
Alan Tudyk Does All His Disney Voices
April 08, 2024
fkqBY4E9QPs
Bob Iger responds to critics who call Disney "too woke"
April 06, 2024
loZMrwBYVbI
Kirsten Dunst recites a classic cheer from 'Bring it On'
April 06, 2024
VHAca3r0t-k
Dr. Paul Nassif Offers Up Plastic Surgery Warning for Gypsy Rose Blanchard | TMZ
April 09, 2024
cXIyPm8mKGY
Reba McEntire Laughs at Joy Behar's Suggestion 'Jolene' is Anti-Feminist | TMZ TV
April 08, 2024
11Cyp1sH14I
NeNe Leakes Says She's Okay with Cheating If It's Done Respectfully | TMZ TV
April 08, 2024
IsjAeJFgwhk
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez’s wedding was 20 years in the making
April 08, 2024
BU8hh19xtzA
Bianca Censori wears completely sheer tube dress and knee-high stockings for Kanye West outing
April 08, 2024
IkbdMacAuhU
Kelsea Ballerini tells trolls to ‘shut up’ about pantsless CMT Music Awards 2024 performance #shorts
April 08, 2024
G4OSTYyXcOc
TV Schedule
Late Night Show
Watch the latest shows of U.S. top comedians

Sports

Latest sport results, news, videos, interviews and comments
Latest Events
08
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Udinese - Inter Milan
07
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester United - Liverpool
07
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Tottenham Hotspur - Nottingham Forest
07
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Juventus - Fiorentina
07
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Sheffield United - Chelsea
07
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Monza - Napoli
07
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Wolfsburg - Borussia Monchengladbach
07
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Verona - Genoa
07
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Cagliari - Atalanta
07
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Hoffenheim - Augsburg
07
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Frosinone - Bologna
06
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Heidenheim - Bayern Munich
06
Apr
GERMANY: Bundesliga
Borussia Dortmund - Stuttgart
06
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brighton - Arsenal
06
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Roma - Lazio
06
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Crystal Palace - Manchester City
06
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
AC Milan - Lecce
04
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Chelsea - Manchester United
04
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Sheffield United
03
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Arsenal - Luton
03
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Aston Villa
02
Apr
ENGLAND: Premier League
West Ham United - Tottenham Hotspur
01
Apr
SPAIN: La Liga
Villarreal - Atletico Madrid
01
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Lecce - Roma
01
Apr
ITALY: Serie A
Inter Milan - Empoli
31
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Manchester City - Arsenal
31
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Real Madrid - Athletic Bilbao
31
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Liverpool - Brighton
30
Mar
SPAIN: La Liga
Barcelona - Las Palmas
30
Mar
ENGLAND: Premier League
Brentford - Manchester United
30
Mar
ITALY: Serie A
Fiorentina - AC Milan
Find us on Instagram
at @feedimo to stay up to date with the latest.
Featured Video You Might Like
zWJ3MxW_HWA L1eLanNeZKg i1XRgbyUtOo -g9Qziqbif8 0vmRhiLHE2U JFCZUoa6MYE UfN5PCF5EUo 2PV55f3-UAg W3y9zuI_F64 -7qCxIccihU pQ9gcOoH9R8 g5MRDEXRk4k
Copyright © 2020 Feedimo. All Rights Reserved.