Former Kansas University basketball All-American Wayne Simien will have his jersey retired in a ceremony on Jan. 29, 2011, KU announced Saturday.
Simien will be honored at halftime of KU's game against Kansas State — a contest that also will be featured nationally as part of ESPN Gameday.
"Knowing all of the names and players who are already up there — Wilt (Chamberlain), Danny (Manning), Paul Pierce, and Jacque (Vaughn) — those were the guys who I grew up watching play and wanting to be like," Simien said in a release. "Knowing that my name will be up there with those guys, it's really unreal to me."
Simien, who grew up in Leavenworth, finished 12th in KU history in points (1,593) and seventh in rebounds (884).
KU was 110-28 during Simien's career, which included three Big 12 championships and two Final Fours.
Simien was a consensus first-team All-American during his senior year in 2005.
"Wayne's senior year was probably the best year and individual has had since we've been here," KU coach Bill Self said in a release. " ... He fought through a lot of injuries and a lot of adversity and performed at such a high level and he is very deserving of getting his jersey hung."
Simien was taken 29th overall in the first round by the Miami Heat in 2005. In 2009, Simien retired from professional basketball.
"It'll be a once in a lifetime opportunity and I'm really excited to be able to share it with some friends and family members who are close to me," Simien said. "The more I've thought about it, I'm particularly excited to be the first of coach (Bill) Self's players to be able to have their name in the rafters."
Three of Simien's former teammates — Nick Collison, Drew Gooden and Kirk Hinrich — already have had their jerseys retired.
"We knew this is something that would happen since the day he left," Self said. "With the five-year waiting period I think this will mean so much to Wayne and his family. It will be great to see one of Kansas' very own get recognized in a matter that will probably mean as much to Wayne as anybody who has had their jersey hung."
The original criteria for jersey retirement included KU players being named college basketball player of the year, most valuable player of the NCAA Tournament or being named a four-time All-American.
KU expanded the criteria prior to the 2002-03 season to include consensus first-team All-Americans, two-time first-team All-America selections and Academic All-Americans of the Year.