Tag Archives: Kansas Jayhawks

RedHawk transfers paying dividends for Jayhawks, Bearcats

Through the season’s first month, two former Miami (Ohio) stars have helped take their new teams to the next level. The MAC’s leading tackler from a season ago, Ivan Pace, Jr., joined his younger brother, Deshawn (20 tackles, QB sack, 3 TFLs, INT-TD, PBU and one blocked kick), in the Cincinnati linebacking corps. The chemistry has been palpable for the nation’s 22nd-ranked defense. Ivan leads the nation with 13.5 tackles for loss entering Week 6, and he also has six quarterback sacks with two forced fumbles.

While at Miami (Ohio), he displayed a knack for reading the action instinctively and always flashed a short-area burst to reach the quarterback. Pace has often been far too much for running backs to handle in blitz pickup at various stages (2nd QTR/6:40, Ohio ’21).

Ivan Pace LB Cincinnati in the 2021 Frisco Football Classic
Pace, Jr. (No. 0 pictured for Miami in 2021) transferred to Cincinnati in 2022 and currently leads the nation with 13.5 tackles for losses (through five games).

On Ohio’s next drive during that game, Pace, Jr. forced a fumble (2nd QTR, Ohio ’21).

Never a threat to pass the eye test, teams around the AAC have their sights fixated on Pace, Jr. when they turn on Cincinnati’s game film. He began the year with 12 tackles, one quarterback sack and three-and-a-half tackles for loss against Arkansas on the road. He has posted four double-digit tackle performances and is currently tied for fifth nationally in that category (56 tackles).

Prior to the 2020 campaign, Pace, Jr. changed his number from 23 to zero for the Redhawks. And he’s responded by averaging nearly 10 tackles per game over that time span.

Statistically, there have been none better than the Bearcats’ latest star.

In Lawrence, Kansas (5-0) also got a boost from a former RedHawk with the addition of Phelps. He is the same explosive player who nearly decapitated two blockers in kickoff coverage during the 2021 Frisco Classic Bowl. That type of intensity is nothing new for Phelps, who plays the game with an attitude that tips the scales of angry play. His kickoff cover prowess was evident during the 2021 season at various points (tackle, 3rd QTR/8:26, Ohio ’21).

He’s strong with his hands and can win at the point of attack. Phelps has posted sacks in each of his last two outings after starting the year with a dominant three-sack performance against Tennessee Tech. The Big 12 Conference named him the Defensive Player of the Week after the performance (9-5-22).

Nine-and-a-half of his 30 tackles in 2021 went for quarterback sacks, but it was the manner in which he finished those which catches the eyes of opponents.

Lonnie Phelps in the 2021 Frisco Football Classic
Phelps, pictured, led Miami (Ohio) with 13.5 tackles for losses in 2021. He already has five quarterback sacks in 2022 for the Jayhawks.

The team faces its biggest test of the year this week against TCU. The Jayhawks are counting on Phelps, a redshirt junior, to continue his torrid pace. The Horned Frogs rushing attack ranks second in the Big 12 and sixth nationally at 252 yards per game. One of Phelps’ strengths is suddenness. His hands have to be ready for combat due to the size of TCU offensive tackles Brandon Coleman (6’6, 325) and Andrew Coker (6’7, 315). Coleman is a former guard who moves bodies in the run game and Coker’s size often engulfs opponents.

Kansas, however, ranks 39th in the country in rushing defense and allowed just 26 yards on the ground to Iowa State (3-2) in last week’s 14-11 victory.

Christian Braun SG-Denver Nuggets: 2022 NBA Draft, 1st Round, 21st overall

Former Kansas shooting guard Christian Braun starred for the Mokan Elite AAU basketball squad before becoming a second-team All-Big 12 guard. Over the course of his career, Braun was active on both ends of the floor.

He stood out during athletic testing of the 2022 NBA Combine, posting a 40-inch maximum vertical jump and 3.13-second time in the NBA shuttle. His athletic prowess should come as no surprise. Braun -who hails from Kansas and was named the state’s Mr. Basketball in 2019- has had an entire family play college basketball. His brother, Parker, is currently a 6-foot-10-inch forward for Santa Clara.

2020 NBA Draft Preview: Obi Toppin 6’9 220 F- Dayton


What makes this player NASTY…(Strengths):
Athletic. Willing passer from the post (Kansas ‘19). Toppin is very engaged in offensive sets and moves well without the ball. His three years at Dayton made him a seasoned player. Gets easy buckets at the rim before expanding his range (Miss. State ‘18). Runs the floor and manufactures points in transition when his shot isn’t falling. Excellent body control. Makes passes with his off hand while in the air avoiding defenders.  Productive weak side shot blocker.

Weaknesses: What is his positional fit defensively? Lateral quickness was a problem for him. Looks stiff when in his defensive stance.  He was posted up and struggled against Kansas center Udoka Azubuike. The Jayhawks actually attacked him late in the game and targeted him through isolation off pick and rolls or post-ups. FT shooting percentage is troublesome as opposed to other shooting splits. 

Other Notes: Attended four high schools: Heritage (Fl.), Melbourne Central Catholic (Fl.), Ossining (NY), Mt. Zion Prep (Md.).Redshirted his freshman season at Dayton after being deemed academically ineligible.  • 2x First Team All Atlantic 10 (2019, 2020), Atlantic 10 Player of the Year (2020), National Player of the Year (2020)Brother, Jacob, plays college basketball for Kentucky. • 2018-2019 (33 games, 15 sts): 14.4 PPG, 5.6 RPG, 1.8 AST, 66% FG, 71% FT, 52% 3-PT, 0.6 SPG, 0.8 BPG  • 2019-2020 (31 games, 31 sts): 20 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.2 APG, 63% FG, 70% FT, 39% 3-PT, 1.0 SPG, 1.2 BPG • Career:  17.1 PPG, 6.6 RPG, 2.0 APG, 65% FG, 70% FT, 42% 3-PT, 0.8 SPG, 1.0 BPG

Time to get NASTY (Our Summary): Like many prospects, Toppin will have to be selected into the right situation to flourish. In an ideal scenario offensively, Toppin would be paired with shooters that can spread the floor. This would allow him to use his athleticism unabated around the rim. Atlanta Hawks head coach Lloyd Pierce is defensive- minded and has a roster full of young shooters like Kevin Huerter and Trae Young. On the other end a marriage between him and a team like the Minnesota Timberwolves -who lack shooting and defense- would concern me when trying to project Toppin’s NBA prospects.

Wise beyond his years

DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous sat down with former Kansas Jayhawks star defensive lineman Daniel Wise for a Q&A during the week of the 2019 East-West Shrine game to talk about the Wise last name, family lineage and what it meant to be a Jayhawk.

Q&A with Kansas DL Daniel Wise

Corey: What about this week (2019 East-West Shrine Game) and what it represents for you and the Kansas program?

Wise: It’s huge for me to be able to just represent the University of Kansas. Throughout everything I’m doing at the Shrine hospital, on the field, having that Jayhawk on my helmet means a lot to me.

Corey: I know the team success wasn’t what you may have hoped for during your career but individually you’ve been very productive the last three seasons. When you think about how you’ve been able to work the edges of guards and tackles by being slippery. Talk about your technique and what has allowed you to become that type of player.

Wise: My work ethic, my routine in the summer, my workouts, guys I train with, my teammates. Picking up things from them (teammates) and picking up things from my coaches. My dad (former NFL player Deatrich Wise, Sr.), my No. 1 coach, and my older brother (New England Patriots DL Deatrich, Jr.). Always being around football and always watching football.

Daniel’s older brother, Deatrich, Jr. (No. 99 pictured), was a participant in the 2017 East-West Shrine Game and has since gone on to post 9.5 quarterback sacks in two seasons with the New England Patriots.

Corey: We actually spent time with your brother here at the East-West Shrine game a couple of years ago. What has his success meant for you in continuing on that family lineage?

Wise: It’s huge for me to be able to follow his footsteps at the East-West Shrine game and hopefully one day maybe with him or wherever I go. But to be able to enter the league with him, it’s been a journey.

Corey: What type of scheme do you think you fit best in? You’ve been a four-technique, five-technique and three-technique. You can line up in the reduced front over the center. What do you think is your best position to start at?

Wise: Just the experience that I got playing at the University of Kansas in a 4-3 and 3-4, playing all up and down the line. It has given me a lot of experience on the line. Can play just about anywhere on the line confidently. But I think I earn my best money at the three-technique.

Former Kansas defensive lineman Daniel Wise (No. 96 pictured) posted 151 tackles, 18.5 quarterback sacks, 44 tackles for loss (2nd in school history) and blocked three kicks during his time as a Jayhawk.

Corey: It’s funny, when your brother was coming out, we asked him the exact same question. Because at Arkansas he was playing up-and-down the defensive front.

Wise: Yes sir, yes sir. That’s right.

Corey: So I guess the family lineage spreads to positional versatility. Toughest opponent in school?

Wise: My toughest opponent in school I’d say would have to go to No. 55 at West Virginia.

Corey: Cajuste (Yodny).

Wise: Yeah…Cajuste. He was a good athlete. His ability to adjust. His hands and his feet. He was a nice athlete, nice guy to go against.

Corey: If an NFL scout wanted your best game of your career what would it be? I know one game I watched two years ago against Texas (2016)…in Kansas.

Wise: Yeah, when we beat ’em. I feel like that’s one of my best games. Yes sir.

Corey: Give me another one.

Wise: Texas again this year. The West Virginia game (2018). The West Virginia game is kind of what sparked the season for me.

Corey: Best of luck. Enjoyed watching you play and good luck in the NFL.

Wise: Thank you.

2019 East-West Shrine Practices, Day 1, 1-14-19: Gallery/Recap

DraftNasty’s Corey Chavous takes us inside some of the Day 1 images from the 2019 East-West Shrine practices at Tropicana Field in Tampa, Florida.

Tyshawn Taylor PG Kansas: Brooklyn Nets 2012 NBA Draft, 2nd Round, 41st Overall

Taylor’s floor speed and improvement in his senior year propelled him to second round status in the 2012 NBA Draft. If he can improve his decision-making, Taylor could become one of the sleepers in this year’s draft class.  After playing two years for the Brooklyn Nets, Taylor has gone on to play overseas in the BSN league, LPB league, Israeli premier league and Turkish Basketball First League.