Gary Bedore’s KU notebook: Simien’s jersey hung in rafters
Wayne Simien’s jersey No. 23 was hung in the Allen Fieldhouse rafters during a halftime ceremony.
The consensus first-team All-American, who ranks 12th all-time at KU in scoring, seventh in rebounding and fourth in double-doubles, spoke to the crowd at halftime and briefly broke down when thanking Jesus Christ for his own personal transformation and making possible the honor.
“It’s a real humbling feeling knowing my name would be up there with so many of the greats like (Wilt) Chamberlain, (Paul) Pierce and (Danny) Manning,” Simien said. “It never was a goal of mine, something I was striving for. It just came back to me putting the team first. I had some great coaches, played on some great teams that really helped me to get to that level.”
Simien’s jersey hangs in the southwest corner, next to Drew Gooden, Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich.
“It’s a great feeling. So many people helped me as a child back in Leavenworth, to my playing career at the University of Kansas on every level, not just athletic level but from a family standpoint, coach standpoint, administration here at the university. It’s not about me. So many people helped me achieve this honor,” he said.
Noted KU coach Bill Self: “Wayne means a lot to a lot of people around here. He’s as great a young man as there is. He deserves to have his jersey hung. I’ve been very fortunate to coach some bad boys in my career. He’s the baddest college player I’ve ever coached. I mean bad as in good. We’ve never had anyone like him where we could throw it to him and knew four out of five times something good was going to happen. As a collegiate player, there’s been none better.”
Recruits in house
Prep juniors in the stands included Perry Ellis, 6-8, Wichita Heights; Kaleb Tarczewski, 7-foot, St. Mark’s High, Southborough, Mass.; Nino Jackson, 6-0, Ardmore (Okla.) High; Zach Peters, 6-9, Prestonwood Academy, Plano, Texas (orally committed to KU). Ishmail Wainright, 6-5 sophomore, Raytown (Mo.) South, also attended. ESPN was incorrect in believing DeAndre Daniels, 6-8 from IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla., would attend. Most recruiting analysts believe he’ll ultimately choose KU over Texas and Kentucky.
The teams were not on the court for the national anthem. KU officials explained the pregame lineup of events was changed with ESPN’s GameDay in town and with a ceremony planned to recognize the state of Kansas’ 150th birthday. … Former KU athletic director Lew Perkins attended, as did new A.D. Sheahon Zenger.
Props for Taylor
Self credited Tyshawn Taylor for his defensive work on Jacob Pullen, who had 21 points, but just four the first half. “I have a lot of respect for Jacob, but we did a fabulous job on him,” Self said. Taylor also had 13 points.
“Tyshawn didn’t turn it over. He played within himself,” Self said. “He drove it. That was a big key for us, him getting to the paint dribbling the ball. He got all the way to the rim several times.”
‘Kieff was great’
Markieff Morris was huge with 20 points and nine boards. “Kieff was great. He controlled the inside,” Self said.
KU (20-1, 5-1) has won 20 games for the 22nd straight season. … KU has won six in a row over KSU, five in a row in Allen. … It was the biggest margin of victory in the series since a 97-70 KU win on Feb. 7, 2007, in Allen. … KU is 34-2 versus KSU in the Big 12 era. … KSU’s 19.4 percent shooting in the first half was the lowest by a KU opponent in a conference game since Colorado shot 17.9 percent in the first half on Jan. 25, 2004.