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 EspaÃ±ola 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 He had an offer to attend Atlanta Hawks NBA training camp, but the offer was rescinded just a few weeks ago.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."