Simien earns honors

Wayne Simien has been announced as a Wooden Award finalist. Simien also shares the Big 12 Men's Basketball Player of the Week honor.

DALLAS - Kansas junior Wayne Simien has played a key role in KU's three-game winning streak. Last week the forward averaged 22 points and is the Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week.

Kansas State junior Jeremiah Massey averaged 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds in two victories last week including a 58-48 upset of No. 10 Texas and is the Phillips 66 Big 12 Rookie of the Week. Both honors are chosen by a media panel.

Simien opened the week scoring 22 points on 9-16 shooting in the 78-67 win against Nebraska. The Leavenworth, Kan., forward also had three assists, two blocked shots, and one steal against the Huskers. Simien then scored 22 points in the 84-82 victory at Missouri to close out the regular season. He went 8-for-15 from the field in the game and pulled down seven rebounds. Simien earns Phillips 66 Big 12 Player of the Week for the second time this season with the other on Dec. 1.

Simien won the honor in a split vote over Missouri senior Arthur Johnson who averaged 31.5 points including a Big 12-high 37 against Kansas last Sunday.


LOS ANGELES, CA - The John R. Wooden Award Committee has announced the 20 student-athletes named to the official voting ballot for the 2004 Wooden Award All-American Team and Player of the Year, presented annually to the nation's top collegiate basketball player. Wayne Simien is among these athletes.

The winner will be announced on Saturday, April 10, when CBS will nationally broadcast the "John R. Wooden Award Show Presented by Allstate" live from The Los Angeles Athletic Club beginning at 1 pm EST.

"Each of these 20 players should be commended for a great job in leading his respective team this season," said Richard "Duke" Llewellyn, founder and chairman of the Wooden Award. "This year's race for player of the year is wide open, so it should be interesting to see who ultimately takes home the Wooden Award trophy."

A panel of over 1,000 voters comprised of sports media members and college basketball experts from around the nation will have until noon pacific time on Monday, March 29 to cast their votes for both the 10-member All-American team and Wooden Award recipient as the most outstanding collegiate basketball player in the United States. While other player of the year awards are voted upon prior to postseason play, the Wooden Award opts for the later March 29 deadline because it allows voters to evaluate players up until the Final Four teams have been determined.

This year's ballot includes players from nine NCAA conferences, including the Big East (3) Big 12 (3), SEC (3), ACC (3), Pac-10 (3), Conference USA (2), Big 10 (1), Atlantic 10 (1) and West Coast Conference (1). Eleven of the 20 candidates are juniors, including Emeka Okafor, the only 2003 Wooden Award All-American who returns to the ballot for the second consecutive year. Arizona State's Ike Diogu and Louisville's Francisco Garcia are the only two nominated sophomores on the list.

Three players who were not included on the midseason top-30 candidate list were voted onto the official ballot. After suffering a stress reaction in his left foot and missing nine games early in the season, Junior forward Josh Childress rebounded to lead the Cardinal to a perfect record and a Pac-10 championship. Meanwhile, Oklahoma State junior John Lucas has propelled the Cowboys to the top of the Big 12 standings with his spectacular play at the guard position. Senior guard Blake Stepp has played phenomenally during the latter part of the season, guiding Gonzaga to their highest national ranking since 2002.

The 2004 Award ceremony, which will include the presentation of the Wooden Award All-American Team, the inaugural Women's Wooden Award and the presentation of the Legends of Coaching Award to Stanford Coach Mike Montgomery, will be held at The Los Angeles Athletic Club on Saturday, April 10. The All-American Team will be announced on March 30 and the top five candidates will be invited to Los Angeles for the Awards ceremony. Each finalist will receive a contribution from the John R. Wooden Award Scholarship Fund in their name to their university's general scholarship fund.

A complete list of candidates can be seen at Top Stories