2019 - G - Cole Anthony


He would start at the two for us. If Simpson continues to progress and the team continues to play at a high level, he’s not losing his job as a senior. No way that happens.


Is it really impossible? The whole thing is obviously unlikely given Michigan’s chances of landing Anthony, but takes names and faces out of the equation.

1 and done, consensus top-3 ranked, pro shows up at a school and beats out a senior, three year starter who has shown offensive limitations for the PG position.

Why is that so unlikely?


Why is it so unlikely?

Because this isn’t fantasy sports.

Coaches value team success above all else. If, as my hypothetical posits, the team makes another deep run and Simpson increases his scoring to 11/12 a game, while continuing to be a lockdown defender, then you’re talking about a guy who is at least capable on the offensive end, great on the defensive end, and undoubtedly one of the leaders of the team.

You’re going to now replace that guy - a senior leader and valuable contributor on a very successful, veteran team in good position to make another deep tourney run - with a true freshman, who is now going to be “the man”?

It won’t happen in a million years. No coach would do that, and certainly not JB. It would be contrary to the whole culture he’s been building here for 10+ years.

I’m not saying Anthony wouldn’t play a lot of
minutes. Absolutely, he would. And if Simpson faltered as a senior, sure, he could lose his job at some point. But we’re not recruiting Anthony to come take Simpson’s job.

I can’t think of a single example of any college team where a star freshman joined a very successful team, immediately supplanted a three year, solid starter, and became the star of the team.

And by the way, as good as Lonzo Ball was last year, his team made it no further than the Sweet Sixteen and he got dominated by D’Aaron Fox in that game.


JB literally just put a senior captain on the bench in favor of a freshman this past year.


A freshman that averaged 3 points and 2 rebounds per game lol.


First of all, the team did not enjoy “great success” the two years prior to this one. Two years ago, we made the play-in game. Last year, we did make the Sweet Sixteen, but Duncan was what, maybe the 5th or 6th most important contributor on that team? He was clearly behind Walton, Mo, DJ, and Irvin. You could debate MAAR/Duncan.

That’s hardly the same as being the starting point guard (a far more important position) on a team that advances to the title game, and then (this year, in my hypothetical) makes another deep run.

Further, Livers did not replace Duncan from day one. It was only when Duncan wasn’t doing much offensively, because he was never a good defender until maybe the final 10 games this year (when, although Livers started, DR played about 2/3 times as many minutes).


AND, players play different roles on successful teams. For Duncan that role was as a sixth man sniper coming off the bench. I believe that was Coach B’s intent from the start actually, but Isaiah just wasn’t ready to start early in the year. I think that’s why Coach B spent so much time coaching him up, which some of us definitely noticed at the open practice. Coach B wanted Isaiah to start and Duncan to come off the bench. I believe that. It’s the role he saw Duncan playing that would most help the TEAM.

I agree with LA, the Duncan/Isaiah dynamic was different than that of a two year starter, going into senior year, in Zavier as presented here in LA’s hypothetical. Is Cole Anthony special? Of course. He is outstanding. Would he provide more offensive firepower than Z? Yes, he would, frankly, no matter how much Z improves. Would Anthony play a LOT? Absolutely! But he wouldn’t come in, immediately be handed the keys and start, at least not initially, over Z as presented in LA’s hypothetical.

If Z struggles this year, which I don’t think will happen, then we’re talking a different ballgame.

Players have different roles to play for the good of the team. DJ Carton, for instance wanted the keys from day one. Coach B couldn’t/wouldn’t promise that. He went elsewhere. I think Cole Anthony will go elsewhere, too. Just my thoughts.


If we’re not going to start him over Z than frankly Cole should go elsewhere.


The idea that Cole Anthony wouldn’t start over a point guard who shot 28% from three and 47% from the free throw line in conference play in a John Beilein offense is so ridiculous to me.

The argument of why Duncan was an effective spark plug bench guy could easily be translated to Simpson as well. Tenacious defender, lockdown guy used in spurts. Of course Z can improve, and I hope he does. But unless he becomes an NBA lottery pick level guy, he’s not at the level Anthony will be as a freshman.

Defining “great success” based on tournament performance from year to year is also frustrating because there’s a lot of luck involved. If Jordan Poole’s shot doesn’t go in, did the team have a bad year so suddenly Z’s role isn’t as safe? If Derrick Walton’s shot against Oregon did go in the year before, is Duncan Robinson suddenly a more valuable player?

Also…let’s not forget the team didn’t play well offensively at all during last year’s run to the title game. Sneaking by Montana, Houston, Florida State, Loyola all on bad shooting performances. Z is primary reason #1 that last year was a big down year offensively and struggled in those games. The team never shot better than 31% from three in those games and 44% from the floor…that is awful for a Beilein team and yet somehow they stayed alive on that run (yes in large part due to defense and toughness, both of which Z had a big role in). But ignoring how significant the offense’s struggles were for lots of last season and saying “well we made the title game so Simpson would never get replaced by the #1 recruit in the country” is just so wrong for so many reasons in my mind.


And that’s what I love most about the forum on this site! We can agree on some things, disagree on others and still be respectful. I know another message board on another site that might do well to emulate the decorum usually found on this forum.


Please stick to the hypothetical, which is that Z improves significantly this year on offense. That negates your entire first paragraph.

Also, please keep in mind the NBA drafts on potential, not production. If, for example, we had senior Jalen Brunson and freshman Cole Anthony on the same team, Anthony would not start over Brunson but would go way ahead of him in the draft.

Again, you’re just glossing over so many important factors. We run a complex offense that has confused many of our freshmen players over the years. We are not going to change our offense for Cole Anthony, or anyone else. In the highlights I’ve seen, Anthony scores most of his points on drives to the basket. College rim protectors are a lot different than high school kids in the same role. In other words, he’ll need to adjust to college some. He’ll also need to play great defense, because we know Z already does, and he’ll need to play turnover free ball, which JB demands.

There’s no doubt in my mind Cole Anthony is an elite talent. But those of you who think he’ll walk in, take the starting job from day one, and score 20 a game (all while playing great defense and efficiently on offense) are in fantasyland, IMO.

On this team, I think it’s more realistic he starts at the two (if Poole leaves), scores maybe 14-15 a game and is among the team’s scoring leaders with guys like Iggy and Johns, and is still a top 5 pick. And that’s what I would predict for him no matter where he goes if the team already has a good starting PG.


What’s your realistic projection for Simpson’s significant improvement next season then? 11-12 points per game with terrible percentages still?

Saying John Beilein “won’t change the offense for Cole Anthony” seems like it’s underestimating JB’s flexibility. The offense became significantly more pick and roll heavy once we got elite point guards into the system. Then it shifted toward utilizing our NBA wings on ball more. Then it shifted to the pick and pop game to showcase Moe. Literally every time JB has had an NBA talent on his roster, he has adjusted the offense accordingly. Cole Anthony would be a coach’s dream to build an offense around, whereas Simpson (even an improved version) limits some of what you can do because of his lack of shooting ability, size and off the dribble shot creation for himself.

Jalen Brunson was the National player of the year. Not exactly comparable to Zavier Simpson. I don’t believe Cole Anthony would come in and take Trey Burke’s job as a sophomore, but again, national player of the year.

I’m with you on Poole potentially leaving early and in that scenario yes Cole could start next to Z instead of in place of him. I’m not saying he’ll score 20 points per game either, 14-15 seems right.


A couple of points. Simpson would not be a 3 year starter when Anthony hypothetically joins the team. Also, why do you keep throwing “the star of the team” as part of your argument? I’ve seen other posters say he’d be a star, but you turned that into something more.

We rarely get recruits touted like Anthony. That makes it hard to have a good perspective on what they would do as freshmen. There’s no Michigan roster that wouldn’t have started Chris Webber as a freshman. Probably very few anywhere.


Just my 2 cents: Anthony starts from day 1 because (a) he’s really that good and (b) he’s not going anywhere where he’s not starting from day 1.

However, I think it’s a reasonable argument that if the season goes a certain way, the most likely pitch to come to Michigan is that he’d start alongside Simpson with Poole either at the 3 or in the draft (or he had a terrible year we’re not expecting and isn’t projected as a starter anymore).


This is a great thread! I agree with some points on both sides of this discussion, though I still would fall on the side of LA in this discussion. Seriously, good discussion with lots of good and very strong points on both sides. I’m enjoying this read!


Yes, I think 11-12 points, 65% from the line, 35% from three.

We’ve run the same ball screen offense since Darius Morris ran the team in 2011. In some years, when we have had more experienced wings and a less experienced PG (namely 2014), the wings initiated the offense. It has a lot of complexity and residual action, and reads. Anthony might be super smart, and understand it all from day one. Or not. This roster should be loaded in 2019, and many of the key guys (Iggy, Johns, Poole should he stay) will have already had a year in the system (a year in which I expect this team can do big things). We’re not going to suddenly retool the offense next year.

If he comes here, it will be about working a super talented freshman into an already very talented team. It will be not be about building a team and offense around him.

As far as the Webber example, first, the guy was a once-in-every-five-years kind of talent. The undisputed #1 guy in his class. Cole Anthony is great, but not quite on that level. Second, if he comes in during the 1990 season, he’s not starting ahead of Mills and Vaught, just like Traylor didn’t immediately start over Taylor and Baston.


Don’t be surprised if Simpson actually regresses offensively this season.

Spacing limitations with losses of ( Moe - Duncan - MAAR ) and opppnents packing it in, will limit his potential drives to the hoop.

He is just an abhorrent shooter from three with brutal form. He’s been in the program for two seasons and his shooting has not improved.

Even with JBs tutelage. He made 7 of his last 46 attempts from deep. Hard to believe.


Anthony’s situation is similar to what I think Bamba’s would have been this year. You plug them into the line-up and figure it out from there. You’re not bringing in a top-three/five player to have them play sixth man. But also, like Dylan already said, Simpson, Anthony, Poole, and go from there. That’s a great line-up to run in my eyes.


Does anybody have theories why Z’s form is so horrible? I think Z is an extremely fast twitch athlete. He has super fast hands and probably could have been a hell of a boxer. Is there any scientific research showing a correlation between motions that require good aim and upper body fast twitch athletes being extremely disadvantaged?

If there is some kind of physical reason why Z will have a hard time improving then I don’t think it is automatic that he will improve offensively like many are saying…and as much as I love him I think he might be always fighting for his minutes.


No, I don’t think that Iggy and DeJulis have a GOOD SHOT at unseating Matthews and Simpson, but it has nothing to do with our tournament run. It is because, at this point, Matthews and Simpson are better.