No one is a representative of the teams that spanned the Roy Williams - Bill Self eras than Simien. He remembers being wary of the new guy, but embraced Self and the new regime, and that more than maybe anything else got Self on the road to all he has accomplished as KU’s coach.
That’s not to say he didn’t bring it on the court as well. Simien had a dominant career. He was Big 12 Player of the Year as a senior. He currently sits 15th on KU’s all time scoring list, and his 884 rebounds rank 5th in the modern era. And this is while missing about half of his sophomore season.
It’s probably fair to say Simien wasn’t a great defender. He had just over a blocked shot per game, and Self’s first two KU teams were among his worst defensively (though they still were 14th and 19th nationally, which is amazing). However, as a go-to guy, you could do a lot worse than someone who finished with an eFG over 56 percent and a turnover rate of under 13 percent.
Simien ironically got to Kansas at the right time. Bill Self brought a slower, more post oriented game to Kansas, and one that fit right in with Simien’s skills. I have no doubt he’d have been a great player under Roy as well (and in fact, he was), but buying into Self brought him up another level and made him one of the most beloved, and best, KU players ever.