After working out the balance owed to Triton College, where he took summer courses, the 6-foot-10 junior arrived on campus on Thursday and promptly took a physical and several blood tests. But in his first workouts with the team Saturday, Simpson didn't look too far behind.
"I was proud of Stan," U of M coach Josh Pastner said. "He showed some good things. He still has stuff to work on, but I thought it was a positive day for him."
Simpson, who transferred from John A. Logan junior college in Carbondale, Ill., worked out in three separate sessions Saturday. While the rest of the team will be off Sunday, Simpson will report to the Finch Center for an individual session.
Despite Simpson's tardy arrival, Pastner said he wasn't necessarily surprised by Simpson's performance.
"He isn't a freshman, so I expect him to have some basis," Pastner said. "We just have to continue to coach him and get him better and teach him to play with high intensity at every possession. I was very pleased with Stan."
Before going the junior college route, Simpson spent two seasons at Illinois, one being a redshirt year. Pastner said Simpson has benefited by being around good coaches at his previous stops.
"He's been able to be coached well," Pastner said. "(Illinois coach) Bruce Weber's an elite coach. We've got to continue to coach him and get him better. He's been around good coaches."
Throughout his high school and college careers, the wrap on Simpson has been that his playing motor doesn't have particularly high threshold.
From what Pastner said he saw Saturday, Simpson could potentially be a heavy contributor for the Tigers this season if he can consistently play with high intensity.
"We've just got to pull it out of him," Pastner said. "We've got to find a way as a staff to pull it out and make him learn to play at his full maximum. That's our job, to find a way and make a change."