Friday, May 1, 2009

Simien retires from pro hoops


Former Kansas University basketball All-American Wayne Simien has decided to retire from professional basketball to pursue work in the ministry.

Simien, 26, who was a first-round draft pick of the Miami Heat in 2005, played for Cáceres Ciudad del Baloncesto this past season in Spain.

Simien outlined his future plans in a Thursday e-mail to the Journal-World.

“The family and I are ‘un-jet-lagged,’ unpacked and officially settled. It is great being back,” said Simien, who lives with his wife and two children in Lawrence. “We had a fabulous time in Spain and it was a great cultural experience. I had a good season on the court and we made some really great friends.

“As far as my basketball future is concerned, I am officially retiring from playing professionally. I still love the game of basketball, can play at a high level and make a great living, however I have more of a passion to pursue other things. That passion being for Christian ministry and youth athletics,” Simien said.

“I will be ministering through the ‘Called To Greatness’ organization ( that I started last year, as well as working with Morningstar Church ministering to the youth and college students.”

Simien added that “this is an exciting time in my life. I can honestly say that I am more excited about this transition into ministry than I was on college signing day or even draft night.”

Simien’s Called to Greatness Organization will sponsor a 3-on-3 league June 1 to July 2 at Holcom Sports Complex. Simien will hold his second-annual camp for youths July 14-16 (for girls) and July 21-23 (boys) at Free State High.

Simien also has helped develop a magazine with his former personal trainer, Doug Hix. Youth Fitness Magazine ( “functions as a tool to help properly educate parents and coaches on physical, emotional and nutritional aspects of youth fitness and sports. I will function as contributing editor and will be doing some writing as well,” Simien said.

He concluded by saying, “I am proud to call Lawrence home, thrilled to be close to the university I love and looking forward to serving the City of Lawrence and surrounding communities to impact the lives through sports and with the message of Jesus Christ.”


sdoyel 11 years, 10 months ago

I hope HCBS gives Wayne a call. We could use a mentor like him on our bench or AT LEAST speaking to our student-athletes every once in awhile!

waywardJay 11 years, 10 months ago

Wayne Simien was one of the most outstanding Roy Williams Recruits we ever had..... Wayne Simien gave one of his shoulders for roy in his last season as Coach and Roy quickly trotted down the tobacco Road. Too bad only one them was a real Jayhawk.

Thanks for being a great Hawk Wayne, we wish you the best in all you do.

Michael Auchard 11 years, 10 months ago

It's a shame his career didn't work out better, though he's always had a very strong religious background. He's one of those people that I think will do well in whatever they choose to do in life. Good luck, Wayne.

TheTruth08 11 years, 10 months ago

Wayne, no! Say it ain't so! Say it ain't so! I was the biggest Wayne Simien fan when he played. Automatic turnaround jumper.

Eurekahwk 11 years, 10 months ago

When I read this, I feel bad about taking digs at Christians. They aren't all bad people. One of the better friends I've ever had is a truly devout Christian. It is just the ones who claim to be people of faith who are only using Christianity to justify their mischeivous lifestyles that burn me out.

KUBlue0809 11 years, 10 months ago

Wayne, Rock Chalk Jayhawk. As obsessed as we become about our Blue and True basketball program, there are other passions in life. Leader of Roy's team, yes! Tansition captain between Roy and Self, of course! turn-around jumper, automatic! Eurekahwk....just shut up.

Robert Lofthouse 11 years, 10 months ago

Without a doubt, one of my favorite Jayhawks - and I've been following the team since Wilt played - blessings on your passion in life and ministry!

NYhawk13 11 years, 10 months ago

Hands down one of my favs. Very lucky to have been at KU when he played...he was a beast! Will never forget the first time I met him freshman year and how incredibly down to earth and friendly he was every time I got to be around him after that. Guys like him are why I am so proud to be a Jayhawk and I wish him nothing but all the best in the future!

jay77colo 11 years, 10 months ago

Its refreshing to see a fine athlete like Wayne follow his heart and give back to the world. I wish him the greatest of success! You're a good man Wayne!

Tony Bandle 11 years, 10 months ago

Wayne is a wonderful individual, but you all should meet his about nice people. It's easy to see where his wonderful ethics and warm heart come from.

I agree with a previous poster...get Ole Dub on board with the Hawks. What recruit's mother could not be impressed!!!

Great, great guy!!!!

Steve Yeakel 11 years, 10 months ago

Wayne is now full time on Jesus' team, to help bring folks into His marvelous Kingdom, and to help them walk with Him. The greatest calling of all, we are so blessed that He called Wayne to serve Him and us in Lawrence. Go Wayne!

KUPROUD 11 years, 10 months ago

Maxhawk, what are "eliteist KU libreals?" Thanks for playing. Anyway, God bless you, Wayne. We need more examples like you of Christian character to lead the way.

RonBurgandy 11 years, 10 months ago

Thanks Wayne for being a great role model and Jayhawk! Good luck in your ministry!

Joe Baker 11 years, 10 months ago

You were great on the hardcourt and will continue to make a difference in the lives of people. You made an investment that so many reaped. Now, you are giving back and making an investment for eternity!! You are truly what makes being a Jayhawk worth while, class! Thank you for all the b-ball highlights and now making a true investment in the lives of young people. There is more to life than b-ball!

Blessings to you and your family

Rock Chalk

Jonathan Andrews 11 years, 10 months ago

Thank you, Wayne, and best of luck in your new endeavor.

Joel Hood 11 years, 10 months ago

Eurekahwk (anonymous) says... "When I read this, I feel bad about taking digs at Christians. They aren't all bad people."

So, just what percentage of Christians are bad? 90%? 95%? 99.99%? Since somewhere between 70-85% of all Americans identify themselves as Christian, there sure must be a lot of "bad" people here in the U.S. (sorry for that rant - predjudical blasts against broad groups of people sets me off - except of Mizzou fans)

Congratulations to Wayne in making this kind of decision based on his convictions. It is in the tradition of James Naismith that your prioritize your faith and serving others above all else.

areyouserious 11 years, 10 months ago

Wayne you are a true CLASS ACT. We need more people like you teaching and helping the children of Lawrence. I truly appreciate your passion and dedication to helping others along with everyone else in this community that gives up their time to make this a better place to live.......this is what it means to be a Citizen

Andy Hess 11 years, 10 months ago

Best of luck in wherever life leads you, Wayne!

jakzhumans 11 years, 10 months ago

Best of luck in all of your future endeavors, Dub. You've alway been a class act and I wish you well.

Can both the pro- and anti-Christian zealots give The Great Debate a rest here? Let's try to keep the focus on one of the all-time great Jayhawks please, and not your own personal agendas, okay?

jakzhumans 11 years, 10 months ago

Well, Max, it seems to me that you could set a good example to them by refraining from using this forum to whip up the furor even more. So how about turning the other cheek? Wouldn't Big Dub want that?

Chris Weaver 11 years, 10 months ago

proud of big Dub - somebody we can all be thankful played on the hill. sounds like he's living a responsible life - and affecting people in a positive manner. wish he could have sunk at least one more jump shot in his career at KU - but his legacy in lawrence sounds like it will have more to do with what he did off the court than on - which is ultimately more important.

Jared Grillot 11 years, 10 months ago

Why would KUSports have a political board? What sense does that make?

jhfan 11 years, 10 months ago

Congratulations Wayne on following God’s leading for your life. You made us proud when you played as a Hawk and you do us proud now. May God help you be a positive influence on the youth in Lawrence and our country. Christ-like values can have an effect not only in this life but the next.

Jaminrawk 11 years, 10 months ago

Jayhawk fans may be disappointed that such a great player is hanging up his sneakers, but this is a huge gain for the community. Wayne can be a positive role model for the youth of the greater Kansas City area and create something big around here.

Beak 11 years, 10 months ago

Best wishes, Wayne.

Thats a pay cut.

KUbsee69 11 years, 10 months ago

waywardJay (anonymous) says... Wayne Simien was one of the most outstanding Roy Williams Recruits we ever had

It's easy to recruit when the recruitee decides in kindergarten where to go to school ... and a great choice it was!

mobyrock 11 years, 10 months ago

Wayne Simien is also making plans to totally dominate Lawrence area church league basketball.

Jfanallways 11 years, 10 months ago

its a shame injuries never let him shine im glad he is happy with the direction of his life

jayhwkr77 11 years, 10 months ago

Eurekahawk is clearly the dumbest poster in the history of I have yet to figure out what part of your post had anything to do with Wayne or KU. Just leave.

Good luck Wayne. Everything will work out great for you.

JayhawkJoker 11 years, 10 months ago

I thought he was going to be a decent bench player in the NBA. He dominated the post with his strong fade-away. He had that shot down. Anyways good luck Wayne. You'll always be one of the greatest Jayhawk basketball players.

Andrew Ledell 11 years, 10 months ago

As far as I'm concerned, both parties are guilty in this nonsensical religious debate. I do, however, wish that MaxHawk would practice spelling before calling me a "libreal" because I don't go to church.

Rob Wempe 11 years, 10 months ago

Please do not be mean or harsh to Eurekahwk. He is one of God's children and I will pray that some day his very good christian friend will help him find his way to Jesus. God Bless you Eurekahwk! Wayne is such an inspireation! God has always had a plan for him.

11 years, 10 months ago

djkc28 must be licking his chops thinking of a "brilliant" post for this article :)

I am proud to have attended the same high school and university as Wayne. What an outstanding representative he is for the community and example for the young impressionable kids who are influenced by him.

KEITHMILES05 11 years, 10 months ago

Has anybody seen WS ? He has lost tons of weight and is hardly recognizable.

Spencer Goff 11 years, 10 months ago

Dude, I WISH I could lose tons of weight, to the point people could hardly recognize me.

Back to the topic of Wayne, like JayJoke I thought his NBA career had potential, but I figured the 82 game regular season plus playoffs would take their toll, and they surely did.

The tools were certainly there, the right mind set, just not the body. But maybe it is that way for a reason. Hell, you don't even have to be a Christian to wonder if fate played a part in it.

Off topic, but if the Royals win the World Series this year, I streak Lawrence buck ass naked.

KUGreenMachine 11 years, 10 months ago

Truth, you're an idiot Mizzou fan. Leave the public library computer and get back to your trailer park.

Lets be honest, Wayne is the freakin man.

waywardJay 11 years, 10 months ago

Ok, I was a KU recruit by age 5 also... however i never grew past 5'10 and 160lbs..... i also.... as the name might suggest had a Jumper like Michael lee's last shot... Only sans the Hakim Warrick.....

My point is alot of us are KU recruits by that age..... Roy doesn't choose most of us.... he believed in Wayne and Wayne believed in him.... wayne had exceptional gifts.... One of which was that specific game against Colorado when and Ijured Simien played one of the most impressive basketball games i have ever witnessed .... LITERALLY with two healthy legs and one good arm...... 20 and 13 with one arm is AMAZING..... like the drummer for Def Leppard.... no matter how many rigs and sets you put up.... a one armed drummer is Amazing.... and so was wayne.....

Those were the best of times in the Roy Era.... When he live and loved being a Jayhawk..... it's too bad roy forgot this.... from January 2003 to April 2003.....

Kent Wells 11 years, 10 months ago

Can someone please post something so I don't have to follow the Rick Allen is the greatest one armed drummer ever poster? Seriously, did someone just compare a great Christian man with tremendous work ethic to Def Leppards one armed man? Maybe last evenings vodka tonics are causing me to halucinate...

Kent Wells 11 years, 10 months ago

(Well, I can follow myself.)

Contragulations Dub. Although I seriously doubt you are reading the post any longer... It is an honor to have you as a Jayhawk. Good luck with your calling...

Krohnutz: Try the alcohol, heroin, and driving a Corvette too fast Rick Allen diet.

jayhawktownie 11 years, 10 months ago

automatic turnaround. just not against bucknell.

rawkhawk 11 years, 10 months ago

I love you, Wayne. Good luck with your new endeavors. You will be an asset to the Lawrence community.

Lost_in_the_Phog 11 years, 10 months ago

1 more year until we put his jersey up among the KU greats on the rafters at Phog Allen Fieldhouse! He probably would have had it retired a lot sooner, but i think the 5 year rule Bill Self put in makes it more fun to see older guys come back. I can guarantee he will have his jersey retired in his first year of elegibility.

Wayne was probably the most liked KU player in history. I think he could've set a lot of records had he been healthy. He is a prime example of someone who is not ashamed to proclaim His name. I know he will do great in ministry.

God Bless and good luck with ministry!

Michael Bratisax 11 years, 10 months ago

I hope that he made smart investments with his money. You can't help but hope for the best for Wayne... I'm a little surprised that he didn't play a couple more years...but he should know when the time was right. I'm not surprised that while reading these comments that how well he was liked was a common thread.

kuclay 11 years, 10 months ago

Big Dub was one the best midrange and inside players that have come through KU. Automatic 20-10 every night when healthy. Sad to see him retiring so early, but I wish him luck in the future. Hope to see him back in the program soon!

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