Saddled with a case of salmonella, former Kansas University forward Wayne Simien hasn't been able to help his current team - the Miami Heat - the past three weeks.
He has remained productive, however, assisting his alma mater in an indirect way.
"We've gone back and watched tape of Wayne and how hungry he was to score in certain areas," said KU coach Bill Self, using films of Simien to help educate and inspire his team on the offensive end entering today's nonconference clash against Winston-Salem State.
Tipoff is 7 p.m., with a live telecast on channels 27 and 38 and replay at 10:30 p.m. on Sunflower Broadband Channel Six.
"We want everybody to be aggressive. We have players who need to have more of a scorer's mentality (like Simien)," Self added.
Apparently one doesn't have to stand 6-foot-9 and weigh 250 pounds to gain from watching tapes of the former All-American.
"Wayne had the mind-set of wanting the ball, and everybody knew where to get him the ball. There's a lot of guys in the offense coach wants to have that mindset," junior guard Russell Robinson said. "Mind-set and positioning ... Wayne could get shots anytime he wanted."
KU sophomore Julian Wright said the Simien videos have given the players something important to visualize.
"The clips show how he (Simien) has the ability to create shots and how he gets shots - not by ball-hogging, but getting himself in position to take shots," Wright said.
"Most of our basic offensive sets haven't changed (since Simien's days). It's the same stuff we've been running, but we've not been carrying out our assignments," Wright added.
The Jayhawks, who struggled offensively in a 68-58 win over Toledo on Dec. 9, have looked better during the last 10 days of practice.
"We've had the best week we've had since Oct. 13 when we started," Self said. "It's been a good week. I just want to see - not a little improvement - but to be honest I'd like to see a lot of improvement.
"We've got good shooters," he added of the Jayhawks (8-2), who have hit 47.1 percent of their shots, including 34.7 percent of their threes, entering the game against WSSU (1-13).
"We need to execute a little better so guys have a little more confidence taking the shot in respective areas."
Sophomore Brandon Rush, who has made 38.1 percent of his shots, is anxious to play a game after hitting four of five threes versus Toledo to break out of a shooting funk.
"I am still shooting a lot on my own. I don't want to go back in that slump," said Rush, who, prior to Toledo, had cashed just 16 of 55 shots over his last five games. "Toledo got me off to a great start. I feel more confident in my shot now."
Rush, who has turned down some open looks, has made 19 of 51 threes for 37.3 percent.
"Coach tells everybody, not just me. He tells everybody to shoot when you are open. If not, make the pass to the open man," Rush said.
As to what he hopes to gain from today's game against Winston-Salem State, Rush said: "We need to run our stuff, pay attention to detail and try to make coach happy."
¢ Productive workouts: KU has held two-a-day practices since the end of finals Friday.
"What we've done is look at a lot of different combinations. We've made it maybe a little more competitive in practice where you never know what team you are going to play on (first or second team). Performance may dictate that more than anything," Self said.
"We've had a majority of our guys perform at a pretty high level this past week. Even though some of the changes (tonight) may be subtle, I think there's been some changes in our mindset, which is probably the most important thing."
As far as whether freshman forward Darrell Arthur will start or come off the bench in coming games, Self said: "We're still talking about a lot of different things. We need to do what's best for our team short term and what's best over time. Certainly him getting more minutes and an opportunity to get more touches in the post I think will help our ballclub from a scoring standpoint."
¢ More on Simien: Self, who had played phone tag with Simien of late, spoke to the ailing ex-Jayhawk on Monday.
"He is having to take it slow. He does feel healthier. He said to tell everybody he's going to be fine. He was upbeat. He wanted to check on how we're doing and he's the one laid up. It shows you what kind of person he is," Self said Monday on his Hawk Talk radio show.
¢ Michael Lee update: Ex-Jayhawk guard Michael Lee is no longer with the Harlem Globetrotters. Lee left the team after one season and has spent the last month working out with Aaron Miles' pro team in France. Coincidentally, ex-Jayhawk Bryant Nash has taken Lee's spot on the Globetrotters' roster this season.