Michigan junior point guard Zavier Simpson picked up only the sixth triple-double in school history on Tuesday night, and of all opponents, he did it in a win against Ohio State. Zavier (formerly Xavier) notched 11 points, 12 assists, zero turnovers, and—most astonishingly for a guy who’s only listed at six feet tall—he snagged 10 boards.
The key highlight in a weird, gritty, versatile performance was one of Simpson’s now-patented running hook shots, which he used most memorably late in the second half to finish off a sadistic dismembering of OSU big man Jaedon LeDee.
Simpson is probably the least talented player in Michigan’s starting lineup, at least offensively, but he is the unquestioned leader of this top-five squad, and his signature hook shot epitomizes all the reasons why. Personally, I’d call it a “little brother shot,” the kind of thing my younger sibling was forced to deploy in the driveway before he outgrew me. It takes fearless determination, an unconventionally creative mind, and a certain amount of genius spontaneity for a little guy to keep hitting that skyhook high off the backboard.
“(I’m) just making it up as I go along,” Simpson said of the shot. “Long as it’s high enough, it’ll drop in.”
It’s a thing of beauty, seeing a guy who should have no business getting two points in the paint dig deep into a bag of basketball tricks, pull out something that hasn’t been fashionable since the ’80s (and even then only for big men), and use it to frustrate and bamboozle his larger defenders. Here is a wonderful compilation of these shots for your enjoyment:
And here are a couple more, but in slow motion, so they’re even cooler:
Zavier Simpson is about 14 inches shorter than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and yet he demands a comparison with the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. I fricken love this sport.