Simien Selected in First Round of 2005 NBA Draft

June 28, 2005


Former University of Kansas men’s basketball player Wayne Simien was selected in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft, going to the Miami Heat with the 29th overall pick Tuesday night in New York’s Madison Square Garden.

A native of Leavenworth, Kan., Simien was a consensus first-team All-American and Naismith and Wooden awards finalist and was named the Big 12 Player of the Year by the league’s coaches and media. The 6-9 forward led the Big 12 in both scoring and rebounding with 20.3 points and 11.0 boards per game and was the only player in the league to average a double-double last season.

Simien leaves KU as the school’s seventh all-time leading rebounder (884) and ranks 12th on the all-time scoring list with 1,593 career points. He also finishes fourth on KU’s all-time double-doubles list (38) and fourth on the double-figure rebound games chart (39).

“I am very excited to be part of this organization and to play with great players like Shaq and Dwyane Wade,” Simien said. “The Heat is a playoff team and a winning organization and I have always been part of a winning team. Tonight couldn’t have been any better because I got to be with my friends and family in Kansas, where it all started.”

“We were all watching the draft tonight and were very nervous for Wayne,” head coach Bill Self said. “I am so excited for him to be taken by such a great team like Miami with such talented players and can’t think of a better situation for him to be in.”

Simien is the third player under Self to be drafted in the first round. Former Illinois player Brian Cook was picked 24th overall in 2003 (Los Angeles) and Illini Frank Williams was 25th in the 2002 draft (New York).

Simien joins nine former Jayhawks in the NBA next season — Nick Collison (Seattle), Drew Gooden (Cleveland), Kirk Hinrich (Chicago), Raef LaFrentz (Boston), Greg Ostertag (Sacramento), Paul Pierce (Boston), Scot Pollard (Indiana), Billy Thomas (New Jersey) and Jacque Vaughn (New Jersey).