Archive for Thursday, March 24, 2005

Simien an AP All-American

Leavenworth native to have KU jersey retired

March 24, 2005

— Kansas University senior power forward Wayne Simien was named first-team All-American on Tuesday by the Associated Press.

Joining Simien on the squad were Utah's Andrew Bogut, Duke's J.J. Redick, Wake Forest's Chris Paul and Syracuse's Hakim Warrick.

The AP honor means Simien, also a first-team All-America pick of the U.S. Basketball Writers, National Assn. of Basketball Coaches and Sporting News, is a consensus All-American and, thus, will have his jersey hung in the rafters at KU.

"It's a great honor being on the same list with such great players," Simien said of the AP honor. "I wouldn't have been able to do it without my teammates and a great coach like coach (Bill) Self."

Simien missed 28 games over his first three years with various injuries, and he missed four games this season after having surgery on his thumb.

Still, he averaged 20.3 points and 11.0 rebounds while shooting 55.2 percent from the field and 81.6 percent at the free-throw line to become the Jayhawks' first All-American since Nick Collison in 2003.

Self said Simien "had the best year of any player I've ever coached. It's amazing the adversity he has been through (with injuries in his career), but he remains so positive. His play is a direct reflection of his attitude."

The voting was done on a 5-3-1 basis by the same 72-member national media panel that selects the top 25 each week.

Kansas senior Wayne Simien waves to the Allen Fieldhouse crowd after his Senior Night speech. Simien, KU's first consensus All-American since Nick Collison in 2003, will have his jersey hung from the fieldhouse rafters.

Bogut received 60 first-team votes and 330 points, 22 more than Redick, who had 53 first-team votes. Simien and Paul each had 289 points, with Simien getting 45 first-team votes, one more than Paul. Warrick also had 44 first-team votes and totaled 283 points.

"It's been a great opportunity to play here the last four years," Simien said. "I'll be graduating in May. I had a chance to finish with the guys I came in with, had everything that comes along with being a senior. I think I improved a lot this year, my range, my rebounding, my numbers. I had a chance to play another year under a great system, with great teammates under a great coach."

The All-America nod is just the latest form of recognition bestowed upon Simien. Also this week he was named as one of four finalists for the Naismith Trophy, the award that is presented to the top player in college basketball each year. Simien is joined on the final college player-of-the-year ballot by Bogut, Paul and Reddick.

The winner will be announced April 3 in St. Louis, site of the Final Four. The four finaliists will attend the NABC awards show where the winner will be announced.

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