The players call him X in those “who’s best on the team at ________” things on the jumbotron FWIW.
So let’s just forget the Jaaron Simmons experiment was a thing, agreed?
Yeah Simmons has been awful every time he gets a chance. I was all for Beilein giving him a shot today because Brooks was terrible.
I don’t know that Simpson was all that good today either but I can understand why Beilein played him the entire 2nd half. Brooks and Simmons haven’t played well enough to have faith in either of them.
At least Brooks is only a freshman. He should get better. Simmons seems like a lost cause. It’s a concern though because I don’t think we want Simpson playing 35 minutes a game. I haven’t been particularly impressed with Brooks all year (poor defender & shaky ball handler) but I hope he can at least be a competent backup the rest of the season.
Easily the most baffling player of JB’s tenure. I thought he was a surefire starter, and had every chance to be a top 3 B1G point guard. Wonder how much of it is psychological vs skill.
Imo, I think Brooks will be fine in the near future. That pressure he faced todaybis something he will not see again this year.
Eli just needs to see a couple shots drop. He has limited opportunities and seems rushed.
Don’t think he is any long term answer going forward, but can be a complimentary piece if he improves his three ball.
I think he has hit that typical freshman rough spot that Beilein often refers to. He will be fine.
I think we might see Brooks play limited to no minutes this week based on this Beilein quote:
“Today was a better game for Jaaron and X until Eli develops this downhill mentality we need him to have.”
I have a feeling he wants to give Eli a breather and try to get his confidence back. Tough to do in these next two. I also think it’s a little telling he kept it positive on Simmons (unless I missed any quotes).
Full Beilein quote for context, from Ethan’s article:
“I don’t think it’s cemented, but I would love to get that cemented,” Beilein said. “I would love to do that, but I’m not gonna go there yet. I just thought in this particular game, we needed a downhill, strong driver…Today was a better game for Jaaron and X until Eli develops this downhill mentality we need him to have.”
Right now, Simpson is the only PG I trust out there. Both Simmons and Brooks managed to make at least 3-4 poor plays in just 4 minutes each of court time.
Those were Simmons first meaningful minutes since UCLA. I’m willing to give him a run as the backup PG due to Brooks playing fairly poorly for an extended period of time.
I would disagree with your conclusion. Coach Beilein quote was in regards to how Illinois defends, and Brooks’ reticence to use his athleticism. I saw nothing from this game to make me think Simmons will back up PG against MSU and Purdue, and I don’t think Simpson will play 40 minutes.
I’m really looking forward to Simpson/Winston matchup
He hadn’t been playing Simmons at all whether the type of game called for it (like today) or any other game. I truly think Simmons only played because Eli has hit a little wall and you couldn’t leave him in there any longer.
Now do I think Simmons earned more time? Absolutely not. I think it’s more a case of Eli is struggling right now and Simmons could be the better backup option in the near term. Illinois or not, it wouldn’t surprise me at all if Simmons backs up Zavier Tuesday.
Either way, nice to only worry about a PG competition for backup minutes and not a three way rotation like earlier in the year. And agreed, that PG battle will be a lot of fun to watch.
I’m not comfortable with Simmons in any scenario at all right now. I could see a reason why JB might want to limit Brooks this week to try to keep his confidence up. If he can’t get the backup minutes, I’d be perfectly fine going with MAAR at point in limited minutes. If we can get 30-35 from Simpson, the rest could easily be done by a backcourt of MAAR and Poole
I see your point but don’t think it was a wall that inclined Coach Beilein to play Simmons. Beilein was pretty clear it was because he needed PG to play like a “bowling ball” that was foremost in his decision.
While having MAAR play backup PG minutes isn’t ideal, as the season goes on I think it will be necessary in order to give Jordan more minutes. Right now, would you rather have a backcourt of MAAR and Poole or MAAR and Brooks/Simmons? How about in March once Poole becomes more comfortable? This’ll also let Beilein cut the rotation down to 8, which has been his preferred rotation size in previous years.
Simmons definitely tried to play like a bowling ball, but then got stuffed, or fell over, or got blocked by the bottom of the rim…
I’m not going to complain about the choice, because Brooks was bad too, and Beilein sees these guys play, but it sure seems that Simmons has been an unmitigated train-wreck everytime he touches the floor.
Simmons’ defense was bad, his ball handling was bad. He was out of control on a drive.
Could Andrew Dakich have been a contributor if he stayed this year? I think so.
I don’t think there was any way to predict that Dakich would be having a better season than Simmons. So I still back our decision 100%.
It sucks, but it’d be preferable for Simmons not to play again this year unless it’s garbage time.