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Not-so-wayback discussion - Wayne Simien

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5 months 1 week ago #19973 by HawkErrant
I have to confess that for all his superb character on and off the court, and his scoring and rebounding ability on it (KU career averages 15.0/8.3; 20.3/11.0 his senior year), I have never really been anything close to Wayne's #1 fan. Although I truly believe he was a team player at heart, I never felt that those feelings translated into better team play on the court. I honestly don't recall if he was much of a passer (yes, he was usually a, if not the primary scoring option, but less than an assist per game when surely he was double-teamed time and again, leaving an open man to take a shot?) Defense? Low figures for steals and for blocks for a big man (less than 1 steal and less than 1 block per game), and I do not recall that he was otherwise a stalwart defender. He (like Raef, another Jayhawk that I feel kinda "meh" about) seemed to be all O and D'd it up only when really necessary? (I'd be happy for someone to point out the inaccuracy of this opinion).

Building into this opinion was how the 2003 team did so well when he went down, even though he was an excellent scorer from both the floor and the FT line (78% career FT%, over 26% of his points came from the FT line). After he went down the team shouldered the burden of his loss and went on to play their best basketball of the season until that fateful final game of 2002-03.

Also adding to my opinion is his woefully short last-second mid-range miss that led to the NCAA Round 1 Bucknell game ending 64-63. It was KU's first first round loss in 27 years (23 NCAA tournament appearances in that time), and led to Bill Self's lowest win total to date at KU (23-7). I understand that he was 24pts/10reb (64% from the field, 75% from the stripe), with 2 assists and just 2 turnovers, and that only Michael Lee (18/7) provided any real backup for him scoring wise (no one else more than 6 points). But the play was to get him an open last second shot, and he had it and missed it. I know it devastated him more than anyone else on the team or in Jayhawk Nation, and it sounds harsh after his overall performance, but he had a classic star moment and did not live up to it in the clutch.

Maybe if he had hit that shot against Bucknell I would feel differently. I remember when he missed it thinking "yep, just not Mr. Clutch," which was particularly disheartening given he was a consensus 1st team All-American that year. So yes, that moment, and the success of the 2002-03 team after he went down and a notably lesser offensively skilled big took his place in the starting lineup, left me glad he came to KU, but not having the warm fuzzies that I have for guys like Langford, Miles, Adonis, Nick, Pony, Special K, etc., etc...

So -- what are your feelings on Wayne? I've always been curious if I was the only fan out there who felt as I do.

“The world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil but because of the people who don’t do anything about it” ~Albert Einstein

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5 months 1 week ago #19976 by CorpusJayhawk
I have a similar view of Wayne. Unbelievably solid young man but not a real team player. Some guys are not team players for nefarious reasons, others, like Wayne, because he was somewhat aloof and disconnected from the other players on the team. He did not associate with the other players, again, not because he was arrogant or for nefarious reasons, more personal issues. His talent translated well individually in the college game but he did not make the team better. His antithesis (and one of my fav players) was Kirk Hinrich. Kirk was leadership and made the team better by making everyone else better. I was never a huge fan (comparatively speaking since I am a big fan of all Jayhawks) of Wayne. I loved Aaron Miles and Keith Langford for their fire.

Don't worry about the mules, just load the wagon!!
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5 months 1 week ago #19987 by hairyhawk
The guy I would in a lot of ways go with as the antithesis is Keven Young. I know some folks will bemoan the MU shot from 35' that cost KU that game but my point is he was a guy that was a consummate team guy. Wayne was a great player but the sum was not a lot more than the parts with him.
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