Michigan’s junior point guard Zavier Simpson has been named a semifinalist for the Naismith National Defensive Player of the Year award.
Simpson is one of 10 semifinalists for the award. The junior guard averages 1.5 steals per contest, good enough for sixth in the Big Ten. Likewise, Simpson leads the Big Ten in defensive win shares at 2.4.
Junior @Xaviersimpson3 has been named a semifinalist for the 2019 Naismith Men’s Defensive Player of the Year Award presented by Bona!— Michigan Men's Basketball (@umichbball) February 21, 2019
He is the only player in the Big Ten Conference on the list.#GoBlue 〽️ pic.twitter.com/JRuoEqlx5J
This comes just one day after freshman David DeJulius called Simpson, “the greatest thing to ever happen to my game” because of how tough the junior guard has been on him in practice.
Simpson is a member of the No. 3 ranked defense in the country, allowing just 57.8 points per game.
Simpson has shut down some of the best guards in the country including Carson Edwards, who shot just 7 of 21 against Michigan earlier this season, and Maryland’s Anthony Cowan Jr., who scored only 10 points against the Wolverines this past weekend. We will see how Simpson will fair against arguably the best guard in the Big Ten, Michigan State’s Cassius Winston, on Sunday when the two rivals face off.
This play is a testament to the ferocity that the Michigan point guard plays with:
Zavier Simpson is completely in the heads of the Nova players. This defense here is incredible and it caused some after the whistle shoving. That’s my PG! pic.twitter.com/RQCozML9eK— Wolverine Corner (@WolverineCorner) November 15, 2018
Simpson was the only semifinalist from the Big Ten. Other semifinalist include Duke’s Zion Williamson and Tre Jones, Tennessee’s Grant Williams, and Virginia guard De’Andre Hunter.