UM hoops officially brings guard Simmons into fold

James Hawkins
The Detroit News

Michigan officially announced the addition of graduate transfer Jaaron Simmons on Tuesday.

Simmons, a 6-foot-1 point guard, was an All-Mid-American Conference first-team selection at Ohio University last season, averaging 15.9 points and 6.5 assists in 31 games.

Simmons has one year of eligibility left and will be immediately eligible to play for the 2017-18 season.

“Jaaron will bring additional leadership, experience and court awareness to our team,” Michigan coach John Beilein said in a statement. “His playmaking and vision on the floor are outstanding and he can really score the ball, too. Best of all, Jaaron is a terrific young man and teammate who we are excited about coaching next year.”

Simmons started his collegiate career at Houston in 2013-14 before transferring to Ohio and sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer rules. As a junior, Simmons averaged 15.5 points in 35 games and earned All-MAC second team honors at Ohio.

Simmons initially announced his intentions to transfer to Michigan in late April but he declared for the NBA draft without an agent to explore his professional options. He recently withdrew his name from draft consideration and will give the Wolverines a dynamic threat in the backcourt.

“Michigan was the perfect fit for me because I will be able to continue to learn and grow as a player and as a person,” Simmons said in a statement. “Playing under Coach Beilein as well as with my future teammates, we have the potential to do some very special things next year. I look forward to the opportunity to do whatever I can to help reach those goals.”

Simmons will step in and help fill the void at point guard left behind by Derrick Walton Jr., who graduated and is pursuing a professional career, along with sophomore guard Xavier Simpson and incoming freshman Eli Brooks.

In addition to Walton, the Wolverines also lost Zak Irvin to graduation from last season’s Sweet 16 team. Andrew Dakich and Mark Donnal opted to transfer and will play their fifth year at Quinnipiac and Clemson, respectively, while Sean Lonergan won’t pursue a fifth year and will begin a career in tech consulting.

Michigan also is awaiting decisions from big men D.J. Wilson and Moritz Wagner, who have until Wednesday to decide whether they will return for their junior season or stay in the NBA draft.