Simien to Have Jersey Retired January 29
Oct. 9, 2010
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Former KU basketball All-American Wayne Simien will have his jersey retired at halftime of the Kansas State at Kansas men’s basketball game Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011.
That day, ESPN Gameday will originate from Allen Fieldhouse for the fourth time in the seven-year history of the show. Coincidentally, the date marks Kansas Day – the 150th anniversary of Kansas becoming the 34th State in the Union.
A native of nearby Leavenworth, Kan., Simien, who wore jersey No. 23 at KU from 2002-05, started attending Kansas basketball camps when he was in the seventh grade, and said coming to Kansas was a “life-long dream.” As a forward, Simien ended his career at Kansas as No. 12 in scoring (1,593 points), No. 7 in rebounds (884), No. 4 in double-doubles (38) and tied for fourth in games with double-figure rebounds (39). Simien helped lead Kansas to a 110-28 record during his career, along with three Big 12 Championships, four NCAA Tournament appearances, two Final Fours and an Elite Eight.
“Knowing all of the names and players who are already up there – Wilt (Chamberlain), Danny (Manning), Paul Pierce, and Jacque (Vaughn) – those were the guys who I grew up watching play and wanting to be like. Knowing that my name will be up there with those guys, it’s really unreal to me,” Simien said.
A Consensus First-Team All-American his senior year (2005), Simien was also a two-time All-Big 12 First Team selection (2004 and 2005). He was the 2005 Big 12 Player of the Year, as well as an all-tournament team selection at the 2005 Big 12 Championship. Also in 2005, Simien was recipient of the Lowes’ Senior CLASS Award, which recognizes the outstanding senior NCAA Division I Student-Athlete of the Year across nine different sports. Simien was a finalist for both the John R. Wooden and Naismith Player-of-the-Year Awards during his junior and senior seasons.
“Wayne’s senior year was probably the best year and individual has had since we’ve been here,” Kansas head coach Bill Self said. “He was a consensus first-team All-America and had many national and Big 12 honors. More importantly, he represented Kansas in a great way all four years. He fought through a lot of injuries and a lot of adversity and performed at such a high level and he is very deserving of getting his jersey hung.”
In his sophomore year Simien was a member of the Preseason NIT all-tournament team and was named to the 2002 Big 12 All-Reserve team.
Simien was selected 29th in the first round of the 2005 NBA Draft by the Miami Heat, with whom he won an NBA Championship in 2006. Simien retired from professional basketball in May 2009 to pursue work in Christian ministry.
“It’ll be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I’m really excited to be able to share it with some friends and family members who are close to me,” Simien said. “The more I’ve thought about it, I’m particularly excited to be the first of coach (Bill) Self’s players to be able to have their name in the rafters. Just everything that coach Self means to me; personally what he meant to me as a player and what he’s meant to the program.”
Simien joins former teammates Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich, all of whom have had their KU jerseys retired. Simien is looking forward to the ceremony on Jan. 29.
“My last time in Allen Fieldhouse was against K-State,” Simien said. “Now I have the chance to step back on the court in front of the fans against K-State, in the Sunflower Showdown. That’s Kansas Day and it also my son’s (Simon) birthday, that’s pretty cool too.”
“We knew this is something that would happen since the day he left,” Self said. “With the five-year waiting period I think this will mean so much to Wayne and his family. It will be great to see one of Kansas’ very own get recognized in a matter that will probably mean as much to Wayne as anybody who has had their jersey hung.”
The concept of retiring the jerseys of outstanding Jayhawk basketball players was initiated prior to the 1991-92 season, when banners honoring Clyde Lovellette, Danny Manning, B.H. Born, Charlie Black, Paul Endacott, Wilt Chamberlain and Charlie Black were unveiled in the south end of Allen Fieldhouse. The original criteria for a retired jersey included KU players named college basketball player of the year, most valuable player of the NCAA Tournament or being named a four-time All-American. The list was expanded in 1997 to include Ray Evans, who holds the distinction of being an All-American in both football and basketball.
The criteria were expanded prior to the 2002-03 season to include consensus first-team All-Americans, two-time first-team All-America selections and Academic All-Americans of the Year.
In 2006, a banner honoring Max Falkenstien was added, commemorating his 60 years of broadcasting Kansas Athletics.
Kansas Basketball Retired Jerseys
Tus Ackerman – 1923-25
Charlie B. Black – 1942-43, 1946-47
Charlie T. Black – 1922-24
B.H. Born – 1952-54
Bill Bridges – 1959-61
Wilt Chamberlain – 1957-58
Nick Collison – 2000-03
Paul Endacott – 1921-23
Howard Engleman – 1939-41
Ray Evans – 1942-43, 1946-47
Max Falkenstien – 1946-2006
Drew Gooden – 2000-02
Gale Gordon – 1925-27
Kirk Hinrich – 2000-03
Raef LaFrentz – 1995-98
Clyde Lovellette – 1950-52
Danny Manning – 1985-88
Al Peterson – 1925-27
Paul Pierce – 1996-98
Fred Pralle – 1936-38
David Robisch – 1969-71
Bud Stallworth – 1970-72
Darnell Valentine – 1978-81
Jacque Vaughn – 1994-97
Walter Wesley – 1964-66
Jo Jo White – 1966-69
Angela Aycock – 1992-95
Tamecka Dixon – 1994-97
Lynette Woodard – 1978-81