The Leavenworth, Kan., forward pulled down his 600th career rebound in the season opener against Vermont to move into the Top 20 on the Kansas career rebounds list. Last year Simien was second in the Big 12 with 9.3 rebounds per game. Should he keep that pace he could become only the seventh player in school history to record 900 career rebounds.
Danny Manning top the list of players that have exceeded the 900 mark in four years with a school record of 1,187. The list also includes Raef LaFrentz, Eric Chenowith, and Nick Collison. Drew Gooden is the only player to tally over 900 rebounds in just three years. Due to injury, Simien missed 22 games his sophomore year and 5 games in his freshman campaign.
Simien scored 25 points and pulled down 14 rebounds as the Jayhawks defeated two-time America East champion Vermont, 68-61. The senior forward shot 53.3 percent (9-of-10) from the field and hit nine of 10 shots from the free throw stripe. He had a double-double in the first half, recording 10 points and 11 rebounds in the first 20 minutes. It was the 23rd double-double of his career and the 18th time he has scored 20 points or more in a game. The performance was enough to earn Simien Big 12 Player of the Week honors. Simien is Player of the Week for the third time in his career.
Simien was named to the Associated Press Preseason All-America team in early November. Simien earned AP third-team All-America honors last season. He is on numerous preseason All-America teams for 2004-05 and is the Preseason Big 12 Player of the Year in both the coaches and media polls.
Tonight Simien and the Jayhawks take on Saint Joseph at 9:00 p.m. in Allen Fieldhouse.
Kansas' men's basketball schedule is considered one of the toughest in the nation. The Jayhawks are facing 10 teams that participated in the 2004 NCAA Tournament, including two from the Final Four, one from the Elite Eight and two from the Sweet 16.
One of the best college basketball stories of the 2003-04 seasons, Saint Joseph's opens its defense of the regular-season Atlantic 10 title at Kansas. The Hawks posted a 30-2 record and went undefeated in the regular season last year. SJU returns three starters and 10 letterwinners from last season's No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. After posting a 27-0 regular season record, Saint Joseph's fell to Xavier 87-67 in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament and later to Big 12 foe Oklahoma State 64-62 in Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The OSU contest was later called the game of the season by ESPN.
Seniors Pat Carroll and John Bryant and junior Dwayne Jones are the Hawks' returning starters. Carroll is a guard who averaged 10.1 points last season, while Jones is a center who averaged seven rebounds per contest. The Hawks are coached by Phil Martelli who is in his 10th season at SJU with a 179-99 record. Martelli was the consensus National Coach of the Year last season.