The Michigan men’s basketball team has reinstated senior point guard Zavier Simpson following a one-game suspension, coach Juwan Howard announced on Friday.
“After speaking with (Michigan athletic director) Warde (Manuel) before today’s practice and after my media availability, we agreed to lift Zavier’s suspension,” Howard said in a statement. “I am looking forward to moving on from this. Anything further will continue to be handled within.”
Following an undisclosed incident that occurred last weekend, Simpson missed the Wolverines’ 79-68 win over Nebraska on Tuesday. Howard cited a violation of team policies when he handed down the initial suspension. On Sunday night, Simpson informed the team of his suspension via text message, according to senior center Jon Teske. He did not travel with the team to Lincoln, though Howard said Friday that he practiced this week.
“This past weekend, I made some disappointing decisions which violated our team rules,” Simpson said in a statement. “I accept full responsibility and having to sit out the Nebraska game was part of that. I deserved it and fully supported Coach Howard’s decision. Not being with my teammates made it a long night, however, it gave me the time to reflect.
“I know I let my coaches, teammates, and fans down as well as athletic department and community members. More importantly, I let myself and family down. They say you learn something new, or from something, every day and this is one of those times. I have apologized to my team and now apologize to everyone who continues to support me as well as our program. I am grateful for the opportunity to get back on the court Saturday and to represent this great university.”
Michigan will welcome the nation’s assists leader back to its lineup against No. 25 Rutgers on Saturday at Madison Square Garden. Simpson plays an integral role, having logged at least 37 minutes in five of the six games prior to the suspension. Beyond Simpson’s ball-handling capabilities, the Wolverines now bring back their unquestioned leader.
On Tuesday, Howard started sophomore guard David DeJulius, who missed six of his seven shots, in Simpson’s place.
Tuesday’s game was the first time the Wolverines’ starting backcourt did not feature Simpson in more than two years.
His absence proved to be short-lived.