Saturday, October 11, 2008

Simien reviving career in Spain


Wayne Simien, who moved into a new house in Lawrence last spring with wife Katherine, and daughter Selah, has packed up the family's belongings.

Today all three are headed to Spain.

"It's a big adventure," said former Kansas University basketball power forward Simien, who is about to resurrect his pro career with a team in the Española de Baloncesto League based in Caceres.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pounder, who played for the Miami Heat for two seasons, sat out last year while rehabbing from knee surgery. He had an offer to attend Atlanta Hawks NBA training camp, but the offer was rescinded just a few weeks ago.

Without a solid offer from another team, Simien, 25, decided Europe was the place to be.

"I'm not looking at this as a steppingstone or anything, just an opportunity to play," said Simien, who said he's 100 percent healthy. He's also in good shape after going through KU basketball Boot Camp conditioning with the current Jayhawk players.

"My focus in going over there is helping make the team better, compete for the championship. If people see I'm healthy and the opportunity comes to get back in the league, that's great.

"But that's not what I'm thinking about. I could see that as a distraction. I'm going to play, just like I did in college. I didn't see that as a steppingstone to get to the NBA. It was a four-year commitment I made to help the school and team. Same mentality over there. I signed for one season. I'm going to honor the contract and play as hard as I can."

Simien will keep his house in Lawrence. His new abode in Spain will be rent free.

Culture shock will be at a minimum. Simien's wife, who is expecting the couple's second daughter in late December, used to live in Spain.

"Her dad was in the Navy. She was there through junior high," Simien said. "She has an idea of what it's like over there."

Simien has heard good things from former KU teammate Aaron Miles, who currently plays in Greece after competing for Spanish team Cajasol Sevilla a season.

"He said they love basketball all over Europe," Simien said. "He told me to come and do what I do, play like I have in college and the NBA."

Simien and his family members won't be back in the U.S. until next May.

"Getting to see the world is exciting (but) I wouldn't say I had the itch to travel," he said, noting he's been to the Philippines, Israel and Central America. "I've never been opposed to going overseas and playing ball. Having my family over there will make it great."

"Great" is a word Simien uses to describe the potential of the 2008-09 Jayhawks. He's been impressed with KU's players not only at Boot Camp, which concluded Friday, but also in pick-up basketball action.

"Obviously they are young," Simien said of a team that lost all five starters. "The talent is there. Starting the season, guys like Sherron (Collins) and Cole (Aldrich) the two main guys have to be anchors of the team. If they can stay healthy and listen to coach Self and the staff, they'll be on their way to another great season."

KU junior Mario Little, who has been impressed with the power forward's play in pick-up games this semester, predicted big things for Simien.

"You can tell he's a pro, the way he approaches the game. He has good quality moves. I guarantee (when he shoots it) it's going in. When he steps on the court, he pretty much dominates the gym every time," Little said.

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Boot Camp concludes: All of KU's players made their required times in running 30 sets of sprints, called "suicides" at Allen Fieldhouse early Friday morning.

That means nobody will be required to continue conditioning this weekend into next week.

"I think coach was surprised. His day is going to be better because of this morning. Everybody made it," Little said. "Boot Camp was good. It was tough. I think it brought us closer together as a team. We supported each other every day. We came together. It was a good experience for us."

Little, who has been recovering from a stress fracture in his lower left leg the past month, did not participate in all Boot Camp drills.

"I should be ready to play at Late Night," Little said of next Friday's Late Night in the Phog scrimmage. "We've taken precautions making sure I'm 100 percent. I want to be ready for the start of the season."

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Hinson hiring official: KU on Friday officially announced the hiring of former Missouri State head basketball coach Barry Hinson as KU men's basketball's director of external relations.

The Bears were 169-117 and had eight winning seasons in Hinson's nine years at the Springfield, Mo., school.

"We have hired Barry Hinson to help us connect with our former players and to raise money for our new facilities," Perkins said. "We're excited to have someone of Barry's expertise and reputation on our staff. This is a position we have looked to fill for quite some time and are glad he is on board to reach out to our former players."

Hinson was an assistant for current KU coach Bill Self at Oral Roberts from 1993-97.

"I've known Barry since we were in college. He is a terrific coach and more importantly a great friend who has been very loyal to me over the years," Self said. "I am extremely excited that Lew has helped provide this opportunity for him and his wife Angie to come up and be a part of what we think is something pretty special."


jaybate 10 years, 7 months ago

Even in an NBA culture with some reputed gang ties, the gangstas quickly learned not to wear their colors on their shirt-sleeves. Even the over-the-top, reputed gangstas like Carmelo and AI seem to subordinate the gangsta ties these days to ensure the steady flow of green. Gangstas' gangs back in the 'hood were nothing if not business saavy from the beginning. The gangs have always been cash cycle enterprises pedalling substances and protection. Cue the Godfather theme as performed by Nas. The turf they protect is revenues from operations and their colors have always been green, regardless of what color the hat with bill turned sideways may have been.So: did Wayne learn the hard way that a cocktail of one part injury, two parts shirt-sleeve religion, and a twist of age keeps NBA GMs away?Me thinks so.And me notes not one religious reference in the quotes above.Good for you, Wayne. There is no commandment in the good book that says you have to wear your religion on your shirt sleeve, that you are any less of a Christian, if you don't talk about it in the work place. God helps those that help themselves. And so on.See you in the show in two years. The cream eventually rises.

Joe Ross 10 years, 7 months ago

Once again...great job Gary Bedore!This article is interesting and keeps us in the loop on Big Dub. After seeing the title of this piece on the main page, I initially felt bad for Wayne. Spain??? But it's clear that his attitude and outlook are positive and he sees this as a good thing. Hey...whatever decent work puts money in the bank, it's worth doing. Probably helps that his wife lived there too.Im impressed that Wayne went through boot camp with the current Jayhawks. I like how they went through pick up games with him as well. These new players learned a lot for sure.

Caceresfan 10 years, 7 months ago

Hello by a "Cacereño".I'm from Caceres. I'm very happy with his sign, Simien will be one of the best players of the LEB (Liga Española de Baloncesto)He will play his first match next Friday, and I will be here (I have my seat at 1st line behind the bench). I have met all the team, and I guess that I will meet him next Friday.The crowd will love him. He is wellcomeBienvenido "Big Dub".

John Brown 10 years, 7 months ago

I am glad for Simien and jealous of his opportunity to play abroad and see all of Europe. Also glad to know that Miles is doing well.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 7 months ago

In all probability Simien will never play in the NBA. Going overseas is the place for him if he desires to play ball.I suspect after making his big money he'll return to the US to pursue his religious calling.

KEITHMILES05 10 years, 7 months ago

Yes, Simien did sign with NBA team but then was injured the entire time. Several have looked at him but he's never made the cut. That's life.He'll do nicely for himself and family overseas. No shame in that as evidenced by a number of former KU players.

jaybate 10 years, 7 months ago

The deal is: draft Wayne and the owner thinks he's supposed to be able to make you better NOW! Draft the Clearasil-drenched highschooler and the GM's instantly bought himself a couple of years to figure out how to get some other good players in who can win.Now, regarding Wayne's fitness, or lack thereof, as a project, judging from the kinds of projects the NBA regularly takes on that pay few dividends even over several years, often never (I'm talking here of everything from development of glandular freaks who have never played to specs on guys just getting out of the joint), I think he merits consideration for any project slot on any NBA team.So what then?Let's play the race card and see if its trump. Do Caucasian Americans get first dibs on the end of the bench, on trying to make it back in the L after injury, on long-shot-project slots? Judging from the rosters of most teams, today, that does not appear to be the case. I don't have numbers at and, but the NBA appears to be a league dominated by African Americans on the floor and on the bench. Even if we concede that a few spots do go to Caucasian Americans to stimulate fan support among biggots, the five stiffs on the roster in the NBA do not appear to be mostly Caucasian-Americans. So: while race can never be entirely ruled out as a factor, it does not here appear to be the Red Queen causing Wayne to run ever faster, but never catch up to a slot in the L. How about showmanship, or the lack of it, in Wayne's case? Pollard is a character. Wayne is not. Pollard appears to understand the showmanship part of the NBA better than Wayne. But, but, but, but the NBA is full of dull prison bodies at the end of the bench trying to stay on the gravy train one more season. Scratch Sim's lack of an Oscar as a driver.So what? The C word?Did Sim get branded a "Christian?" He did wear his religion on his shirt sleeve awhile; that always makes all the sinners (i.e., everyone) uneasy; like wearing an Amnesty International shirt to a Bush cabinet meeting; like wearing a Green Peace shirt to an OPEC conference; like wearing a Bill of Rights shirt to a Neocon conference; like wearing an Obama shirt to a Klan rally; like wearing a Jayhawk shirt to a Fizzou fund raiser in Bentonville, Arkansas, or, like, well, you get the idea.

ku98 10 years, 7 months ago

I am disappointed that no NBA team is seemingly not willing to give Wayne a roster spot. They must really be worried about his knees. I think Spain is great though. It is a good league. Nice warm weather. Crazy fans. I don't know if he will dominate, but Caceres just picked up a true pro. Best of luck to you, Wayne.

jaybate 10 years, 7 months ago

Sim has to be the greatest talent not in the NBA!Yes, he's injury prone. Yes, he's cost some teams some cash because of it. But come on! Wayne Simien is flat out better than most of the bigs that were taken in the most recent draft and who stuck in the L. Frankly, Wayne is better than D Block and Darrell Arthur.Wayne is certainly better than several of the stiffs taken for bigs from other schools and countries in this year's draft.Basketball-hell's bells, what is Kevin Pritchard thinking? Did he get rain on the brain in the Pacific Northwest? He's got a team full of sucklings up there that couldn't carry the synthetic fibers in Wayne's supporter. Pritchard's bench looks like a who's who of who isn't. Channing Frye? Luke Jackson? Travis Outlaw? Shavlik Randolph? Martell Webster? Webster and Outlaw haven't even played college ball yet!!! Channing Frye? Wayne could have taken him to the rim during knee surgery! Wake up, wunderkind.Think about it: there are 29 teams in the L with at least five stiffs on every team, five guys who were just good in college, 5 who will likely never be starters in the L; 5 guys who's main jobs may simply be to carry the cannabis through security for the stars; five guys who's job it is to make "intros" at the bar post game to avoid charges of soliciting; five guys who's jobs are to be the NBA equivalent of Bundini Brown for Ali--to stand there and tell some star how frickin' great he is.

jaybate 10 years, 7 months ago

And no knock on Scott Pollard, but how could PlanetP hang in the league all those years and Simien gets scratched from even a look at Atlanta?Compare.Category: Pollard/SimienHeight: 6'11"/6'9"Weight: 255/255Strength: SimienDefense: Simien (played for Self)Shot blocking: equalBounding: EqualSpeed: Probably equal.Jumping: Simien by more than two inches to offset height.Athleticism: Simien by a mileInside Shooting: SimienOutside Shooting: SimienDribbling: SimienPassing: SimienDunking: SimienLooks: SimienSideburns: SimienHair: SimienTeeth: SimienComplexion: SimienOkay, so I'm having a little fun at Scott's expense. He can afford it. He's independently wealthy. He's been wiggling his butt like a metal detector on NBA benches collecting solid gold splinters for ten years. He's rich. Wayne got some bonus green and a year or so of gravy, but since he appears to have been living on wish-I-could. Is it really Wayne's tendency to injury that is keeping him out of the league? Call it a crisis of faith, but injury can't be the sole cause. Raef LaFrentz is injured all the time and he stays under contract. Professionally speaking, Raef has more lives than my stinking cat. Do Raef's and Pollards two inches mean that much when Sim can out jump, outrun, outdefend, outrebound, and out shoot both of them? Raef and Pollard are good players. I'm not knocking them. They're very sound fundamentally. They can fill a role. Raef, when he still had knee joints, could even score. But remember this: Wayne Simien is sound fundamentally, can play a role, AND has the potential to be a terrific NBA player! What gives?Let's even concede that Sim's injuries make him a project at this stage and age.Age of course is anathema to GMs betting on the come. Drafting guys who "will" be great in a couple of years takes some of the pressure to win right now off their backs. GM's tell Type A owners, "Hey, just be patient, in a couple of years this highschool guys is going to be an All Star. Wayne Simien? Yeah, he could play now, but, well, he gets injured easy and, and, well, you know...he's not young anymore." Of course Wayne is only 26! So what's the deal?

jaybate 10 years, 7 months ago

It occurs to me that maybe the NBA has never been a place where shirt-sleeve-worn Christianity has widely flourished. For that matter, I do not recall that mainstream Christians, fundamentalist Christians, or mayonaisse and white bread Christians; or Jews, Orthodox Jews, or pastrami on rye Jews; or Islamists, fundamentalist Islamists, or falafel and pita pocket Islamists, have ever been more than annoyingly endured by most in the league, when they wore their faiths on their shirt-sleeves, that is. About the only public displays of religion I recall are guys soon to be out of the league leading prayer groups, or guys who appear to have just given up drugs or alcohol and won a championship (e.g., I wanna thank god, I want thank allah, I wanna thank L.Ron Hubbard, etc.), or in exceedingly rare cases, guys who appear not to have given up pot and just won a championship (e.g., Kareem). Even shirt-sleeve worn paganism does not go over well in the L. Darrell Dawkins almost certainly would have lasted longer in the league back in the proto dawn of bling had he not annointed himself in public as sort of the pagan god of his own inner Planet Lovetron. Frankly, it occurs to me that the NBA has never generally been a work place where anyone who wears anything on his shirt-sleeve but bling has flourished long and even bling is no longer en vogue quite the way it was. Many NBA players seem to have grasped the essential truth of comedian Chris Rock's biting comments about African American professional athletes and his brilliant refrain: "Not talkin' 'bout money, talkin' 'bout WEALTH!" They're taking fortune-amassing seriously now. Be more like Mike. Own the game.Even in the widely reputed present culture of smoke in the NBA, the player-burners do not wear their blunts rolled up on their shirt sleeves.

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 7 months ago

Negative waves man , negative waves.Gee I don't know why Wayne Simeon ever gets out of bed in the morning since KETHMILES05 thinks he will never play in the NBA. Yea, you would be surprised how often that has been said about many current and former NBA players. BesidesWayne has already played in the NBA and he will be back. Despite naysayers such as KEITMILES05. Note: For everyone in life striving to meet goals , wave back at KEITHMILES05 on the way up.

Lance Hobson 10 years, 7 months ago

KU needs to retire his jersey. All class.

JJHAWK 10 years, 7 months ago

Went through boot camp with the team. I loved that comment - thats KU BB family in action! It is great to be able to be proud of such good Jayhawk people. Best wishes Wayne. Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

Dan Pawlowski 10 years, 7 months ago

From ESPN. (expand box to align correctly)Wayne SimienCareer TotalsRebounds YRTMGMINFGFG%3P3P%FTFT%STL BLK TOOFFDEFTOTASTPTS05-06MIA4341658-120.4830-0.00030-34.88213124385088714606-07MIA8939-23.3910-0.0005-7.7142035611423So 51 Games , He wasnt' injured entire time. In fact I believe he was sick with some virus for quite awhile. I do not think that is categorized as an injury.

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