Archive for Friday, July 16, 2010

Miami doesn’t interest former Jayhawk Simien

All-American happy in Lawrence raising family, working as director of Called to Greatness ministry

Former Kansas University basketball standout Wayne Simien has retired from professional basketball and has started Called to Greatness, a Christian-based sports organization through Morning Star Christian Church, 998 N. 1771 Road, and Midwest Student Ministries.

Former Kansas University basketball standout Wayne Simien has retired from professional basketball and has started Called to Greatness, a Christian-based sports organization through Morning Star Christian Church, 998 N. 1771 Road, and Midwest Student Ministries.

July 16, 2010


A 2005 first-round draft pick of the Miami Heat, Wayne Simien isn’t tempted to come out of retirement to join the LeBron James-Dwyane Wade-Chris Bosh-led squad in South Beach during the 2010-11 season.

Simien-led basketball program ends

The Call to Greatness summer basketball program at Free State High School wound down Thursday. Wayne Simien hosted the camp, which featured more than 50 high school athletes. Enlarge video

“I’ve been getting a lot of jokes about that, but that’s not going to be the case for me,” said Simien, a former Kansas University All-American who retired from basketball in May of 2009 after playing two seasons with the Heat and one in Spain.

He was speaking Thursday on the final day of his third-annual Called to Greatness basketball camp at Free State High.

“Literally, you can’t pay me to play right now. I enjoy what I’m doing now more than being somewhere playing basketball. I appreciate the opportunity to play in the NBA and overseas, but I’m really excited about what I’m doing now.”

That is living in Lawrence with his wife, Katie, daughters Selah (2) and Rael (1) and son, Simon (5 months), and working as director of his Called to Greatness ministry out of Morning Star Church. He’s also team chaplain for KU’s basketball and football teams and ready to take on an expanded role in mentoring athletes in all KU sports starting this August.

“There’s nothing I enjoy more than being a husband and father. It’s great to be able to do that back in the great community of Lawrence,” said the 27-year-old Simien, who was born and raised in Leavenworth.

“My main focus was with the men’s basketball team this past year,” added Simien, who started mentoring football players after Turner Gill was named coach. “Lew Perkins (AD) and the rest of the athletic department kind of want to expand that to the other athletic programs, which I’m excited to do. Whether the title (of his job) is official or not, it’s something I’m doing on a volunteer basis.”

His duties are simple.

“I go to practices, go to games, meet with players individually and do some motivational speaking with teams,” he said. “I don’t need an office. I’m not in a suit and tie or anything like that. Nothing is mandatory. It’s completely up to the coaches or if the players see me on campus and want some encouragement or have a question about something they are going through, I’m going to make myself available to help them through that.”

Simien worked with about 100 youths during Thursday’s final four-hour session of his camp. At one point, the 6-foot-9, 250-pounder stopped the action and asked the players to sit on the floor as he read passages and taught lessons from the Bible.

“We have ministry time every day. We feel that is the most important time of the camp,” Simien said. “A lot of the kids may not be able to hear that on a regular basis, to be provided an encouraging message from the Bible. We coach from a biblical perspective and of course teach them fundamentals of the game of basketball as well.

“The purpose of the camp,” Simien explained, “is to communicate the true call to greatness that we have. The greatness isn’t found in their athletic achievements or how popular they are or how much money they have, but the greatness is found in being sons of God, and we encourage them that the greatest person they could ever follow in their life is Jesus Christ, and we are able to communicate that through the game of basketball.”

One of his Simien’s KU teammates, Aaron Miles, stopped by with his young son.

Miles, who played professionally in Greece last season, spoke to the youths after a series of drills.

“It’s great because Wayne’s giving back to kids, giving back in general,” Miles said. “It’s something he is passionate about, so I support him. He is a standup guy, a great person, great friend, great husband, great family man. Even as my teammate and a friend of mine, I look up to him as far as what he does. He’s still admired by his peers.”

Simien has a big school year coming up.

He’ll be inducted into the KU Athletics Hall of Fame in September and have his jersey hung in the fieldhouse rafters in a halftime ceremony of a yet-to-be-determined game sometime this winter.

“I’m hoping to have it on a Saturday afternoon game so I can have some family come in to be a part of that,” Simien said. “I got a call a few days ago saying I’ll be inducted into the Kansas Athletics Hall of Fame, I believe Sept. 25. I’m really excited. It’ll be a good fall.


jstthefacts 7 years, 10 months ago

Yes, Wayne, your a good man and great to have you back in Lawrence but seriously, Miami isn't going to offer you a contract so your pretty safe with not wanting to play for them.

rgh 7 years, 10 months ago

Is this a serious post or just be sarcastic. I'm hoping the latter.

DRsmith 7 years, 10 months ago

I am sure the Heat will miss all of his production.

Majestic42 7 years, 10 months ago

If he was a Muslim player, you'd be okay with it, right?

Majestic42 7 years, 10 months ago

Yes, smartypants, I would. It seems like the societal norm these days, however, is to be tolerant of everyone save Christians.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 7 years, 10 months ago

Only to intolerant Christians who can't tell the difference between intolerance of their intolerance and intolerance of their choice of religious beliefs.

Deja Coffin 7 years, 10 months ago

I'm so proud to have someone like him not only as a future KU Athletics Hall of Famer but also as a Kansas native. Thank you for being a great role model for us all!

rgh 7 years, 10 months ago

It's nice to see someone who once "had it all" giving back to the community and college he attended. He has plenty of money and injury cut his career way too short, so it's nice to read and know about what Wayne is doing instead of the garbage about LeBron, etc.

Majestic42 7 years, 10 months ago

It's especially awesome to know that some athletes who come out of KU actually have a good head on their shoulders, instead of unrealistically thinking they'll play basketball/football/whatever for the rest of their lives.

blackfox1945 7 years, 10 months ago

Congrats to you and your family. I know who guides your heart and life. Thanks for lifting him up. With all the negativity going on in this world. This is truly refreshing.

brother_cumulus 7 years, 10 months ago

"Hey kids let's take a break from basketball for a minute. I am going to shove jesus down your throats."

fancy80 7 years, 10 months ago

Some Jayhawks represent by going on and playing in the NBA or NFL, some represent by becoming respected Sportscasters. Some Jayhawks represent by raising children who look at their parents in awe of who they are and what they have done. Wayne Simien does it all! Thank you Wayne. Thank you for being a Jayhawk and truly representing KU and all that it stands for. But most of all, thank you for giving thanks to your higher power (God), who created you and gave you the wonderful gifts that you have. It's awesome that you have the ability to play basketball at the many different levels that you have, but more than anything, thank you for taking your time to give back to the community. The young people you are reaching out to will someday become our leaders. My only wish is that there were more Wayne Simiens in the world. Best wishes always to you, and your family.

jimmyjms 7 years, 10 months ago

Hey, I like Wayne Simian. Had a class with him (he's tall).

But seriously - Miami wasn't going to come a-calling.

The evangelical thing isn't my bag, but I wish the man well.

"If he was a Muslim player, you'd be okay with it, right?"

Would you? Or is it only your god that gets the props?

fancy80 7 years, 10 months ago

I realize you are not asking me this, but I'll answer anyway....

I would absolutely be okay with it if he was a Muslim player. I'm positive there would be an audience for that too. But I listen to Wayne on 1320 and I've heard him speak and it's not just God he is pushing. It's the simple stuff that somehow isn't getting passed on to our children these days....respect your parents, study hard, try to do the right thing, treat people as you would like to be treated.

I have friends that are Muslim, and guess what? That's the same thing they want for their kids.

Majestic42 7 years, 10 months ago

I in no way meant disrespect towards the Muslim religion. It just seems there is a weird double standard in society today, wherein we must be tolerant of everybody except Christians.

fancy80 7 years, 10 months ago

Majestic42, I didn't take it that way, and for the record, I agree with your comment. Some of the posts (above) make it sound horrible that he is talking to young adults about God.

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