Towards the end of the college basketball season last year, Derrick Walton Jr. found himself having to take complete command of the point guard position, and he embraced that role fully.
While Walton was the obvious choice to play all season for Beilein anyway, in the past he has had other options like Spike Albrecht to come in a make some clutch buckets or run the offense effectively.
Xavier Simpson, now a sophomore, didn't exactly get it going as fast as Michigan would've liked. While he was serviceable as a backup, the former Mr. Basketball in Ohio showed as a freshman he still needs more development before becoming the starter the Wolverines hope for someday.
Simpson had to be patient, being a reserve player for the first time in his career.
Now, he has to take another detour, as Beilein went after another player who has more experience.
That player is graduate transfer Jaaron Simmons, who left Ohio to join Michigan just a few weeks ago.
After receiving his feedback from the NBA Draft scouts and talking with his coaches, Simmons withdrew his name from the draft process and elected to come play Big Ten basketball at Michigan.
Beilein said himself that the add of Simmons was made because there is "a huge need for us just to have a little more experience in the backcourt for next year."
The team was “all-in” on this decision, and at the end of the day it makes the most sense.
Simmons, a 6-foot-1 point guard, brings in 98 career games to go along with 1,101 points and 512 assists as a college player.
After transferring from the Houston as a freshman, the Dayton, Ohio native came back to his home state to play for Ohio in the Mid-American Conference.
In his two seasons with the Bobcats, Simmons showed a star-type talent at the point guard position. As a sophomore he averaged 7.9 assists per game, good for third in the country. Last season, he averaged 6.5 which was good for eighth in the nation. He averaged over 15 points both years (15.5, 15.9).
In 66 starts for Ohio, Simmons had at least seven assists in 40 of those chances.
He's proved he can play college basketball at a Division I level.
Simpson meanwhile, hasn't yet started a college basketball game while averaging 1.6 points per contest to go along with 37 career assists.
With the return of Moritz Wagner and Charles Matthews now being eligible to go along with other returning key players (Duncan Robinson, Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkmam), Michigan needed something else to boost their “win now” probability that college basketball revolves around now.
Simmons has shown he can fill the shoes of a starting point guard at this level.
Simpson has not.
So while it may seem tough on Simpson, it's all a part of the process for him. He has been compared to Trey Burke multiple times, and still has potential to be something in this league.
At the end of the day he's only a sophomore, and has time to learn from another veteran like Simmons.
Look at D.J. Wilson for example. Many thought he would look into transferring after starting with an injury and barely playing his freshman season. Now, he's officially entering the NBA draft after one solid season with the Wolverines.
It can happen that fast, and according to what Beilein told the press, "You just have to be patient and you have to work at your game."
Beilein has also said that starting job won't just be given to Simmons or any player on the roster without earning it.
"There will be competition -- that position is open for anybody," Beilein said to the press. "I don't want to say we're giving (Simmons) that position. That position is open, as is every position."
Regardless, most guess that Simmons will get the starting spot and could really turn Michigan into something this season. Especially in a conference that doesn't have many top tier point guards returning.
Whether Simmons steals the show or Simpson surprises some people, the Wolverines now have options for the point guard position this upcoming season.
That for certain, isn't something that the team has to worry about.
While the situation has been difficult and confusing at times, Michigan can be sure of one thing.
They now have experience back at the point guard position, and that is something you can't replace, and is also something Simpson can learn from.
Right now it may be getting overlooked, but Simmons may be the best thing that could've happened to Michigan basketball for the near and distant future.