Courtney Sims did more than just score the game-winning hoop in
Michigan’s 64-63 win over Purdue.
Sims grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds and blocked five shots to
go along with his 11 points, which included the game-winning basket
with 1.4 seconds left.
“I can’t say enough about Courtney Sims,”
Michigan coach Tommy Amaker said. “To play the way he did
against a team like Purdue is huge for Courtney’s
And that confidence is on the rise.
The freshman scored a career-high 16 points against Iowa last
After that, Sims saw an increase in his playing time on
Saturday, something which may have been partially responsible for
his rebounding performance. The freshman had been playing around 20
to 25 minutes per game this season. But in the victory over Purdue,
he played eight more minutes than his previous career high,
spending 37 minutes on the court.
“I think (my minutes increased) because I was
rebounding,” Sims said. “I think (Amaker) takes me out
sometimes because I don’t rebound or play good defense. But I
think I was a good defensive presence (on Saturday).”
Sims’s defensive contribution goes beyond the numbers in
the boxscore. The freshman blocked five shots, but he appeared to
alter twice as many.
Many times, especially in the first half, Purdue players drove
towards the rim only to see Sims in their path. Those players had
to change their shots to avoid being blocked.
“I was just trying to be a defensive presence,” Sims
said. “I think I do that a lot, even when I don’t have
as many blocks. (Altering shots) is what I focus on all the
At 6-foot-11, 230 pounds, it would be more accurate to describe
Sims as “lanky” than “bulky.” But Sims said
that he is feeling more confident lately because he is beginning to
feel more at ease with the physicality of the college game —
an aspect of the game which he struggled with at first.
“(I’m) getting used to playing bigger people and not
getting pushed around,” Sims said.
The freshman said that he used to have trouble maintaining his
position when trying to box out defenders. Because he wasn’t
used to the physical environment, he was easily pushed under the
basket when going for rebounds.
But on Saturday, Sims held his ground and showed that he
wouldn’t be out-muscled.
With his 11 points and 15 boards against Purdue, Sims recorded
one of two double-doubles for the Wolverines on Saturday. Senior
Bernard Robinson chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds for the
These were the only double-doubles recorded by Michigan in any
game this season.
“We’ve definitely stepped up as far as getting on
the glass,” Robinson said. “(Our) coaches have been
harping us about getting on the glass, especially the last couple
games, and I think we’ve responded well to it.”
Sims’s rebounding total on Saturday blew away his previous
career-high of six, which he grabbed against Oakland on Nov. 21 and
again against Bowling Green on Dec. 13. The freshman just missed
equaling his career high in blocks (six), which he also recorded