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.”