Jayhawks in the Pros
Stay updated with all your Jayhawks from all your favorite Kansas sports in the professional ranks!
Bryce Hoppel Wins First-Career USATF Title
TRACK & FIELD | FEBRUARY 15, 2020
Running in his first professional indoor season since turning pro last August, Jayhawk Bryce Hoppel has continued to do what he knows best, win. At the USA Track & Field Indoor Championships in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday, Hoppel put together a strong race of 1:46.67 in the men’s 800 meter final, securing his first USATF Indoor Title in his career. Hoppel ran a strong race throughout, including a closing 200 meter split of 25.82, edging Nike’s Isaiah Harris. Hoppel will continue to prepare for the outdoor season, leading into the 2020 Olympics this summer.
Hoppel Second at Millrose Games
TRACK & FIELD | JANUARY 8, 2020
Jayhawk Bryce Hoppel has carried his storied Kansas career into his pro career this season, representing Adidas. On Saturday at the Millrose Games, Hoppel finished second overall, running a 1:45.70 in the men’s 800 meters final, which ranks sixth in American indoor history. Hoppel finished behind a new American Record from Donovan Brazier. Saturday’s feat comes after Hoppel raced at the New Balance Indoors on January 25, as he prepares for the USATF Indoor Championships on February 14.
Jayhawks Make Debuts in the XFL
FOOTBALL | FEBRUARY 7, 2020
Four Jayhawks will make their debut in the XFL this weekend, as Dwayne Wallace, Steven Johnson, Ben Heeney and Ben Johnson premiere in the league’s kickoff weekend. Each player was drafted or selected by their respective teams earlier this year, and will compete in their 10-week regular season schedule.
Bradley McDougald Set for Playoff Showdown
FOOTBALL | JANUARY 5, 2020
Bradley McDougald and the Seattle Seahawks get set for a NFL playoff showdown with the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at 3:30 p.m. CT. The game is McDougald’s second-career playoff appearance, after the Seahawks fell to the Cowboys in the 2018 Wild Card round.
The 11-5 Seahawks look to advance to the Divisional round with a win over the Eagles on Sunday, which would put them in the Divisional round for the first time since 2016. McDougald has helped the Seahawks to their best record since 2014, playing in 15 games and starting 14, while making 70 combined tackles and two interceptions.
The winner of Sunday’s showdown between the Seahawks and the Eagles will take on other the Green Bay Packers or the San Francisco 49ers. For more information on Sunday’s playoff matchup, click here.
Steven Sims Jr., Has Career Day Against Giants
FOOTBALL | DECEMBER 22, 2019
Washington Redskins wide receiver and Kansas Jayhawk Steven Sims Jr., had himself a career day against the New York Giants on December 22, scoring two touchdowns just several days after the passing of his grandfather.
Sims’ first touchdown catch came in the first quarter, when Redskins’ quarterback Dwayne Haskins Jr., scrambled out of the pocket to find Sims streaking across the back of the endzone before diving to bring in the touchdown to make the score 7-7. Sims struck again in the third quarter when he made a move on the cornerback, before Case Keenum threw a pass to Sims in the endzone, his second touchdown of the day.
The pair of touchdowns were Sims’ second and third receiving touchdowns of the season, while he has also added a rushing and kick return touchdown this season. Sims has been a bright spot on a struggling Redskins’ team, as he has the second-most receiving touchdowns on the team, behind fellow rookie Terry McLaurin.
To read the full Athletic.com article on Steven Sims’ career day following his grandfather’s passing, click here.
BASKETBALL | DECEMBER 12, 2019
Joel Embiid rained in a season-high 36 points as the 76ers topped the Celtics in Boston on Thursday night. Embiid also collected 13 rebounds to claim his 16th double-double of the season.
After the game, NBA Hall of Famer Charles Barkley gave Embiid some inspiring words following his impressive outing.
FOOTBALL | DECEMBER 11, 2019
Aqib Talib was traded from the Los Angeles Rams to the Miami Dolphins earlier this season, but that didn’t stop him from fulfilling a commitment that he made to the Holiday Huddle of Hope Charity and the Los Angeles community.
Currently on injured reserve with the Miami Dolphins, Talib flew back to Los Angeles to host the Watts Rams football and track and field teams for a holiday shopping spree at Target in Inglewood, California. Talib and former teammate John Johnson III helped make the children’s holiday a special one.
Read more about Talib’s commitment to giving back here.
BASKETBALL | DECEMBER 11, 2019
Devonte’ Graham continued his torrid start to his sophomore campaign with the Hornets after posting a career-high 40 points in Charlotte’s win at the Nets Wednesday night. Graham, who connected on seven 3-pointers, posted his third 30-plus point performance of the season and is now averaging 26.0 ppg in the month of December. Graham’s 107 3-pointers ranks second in the NBA and his 7.6 assists per game is sixth.
The former KU standout is now receiving considerable buzz for the NBA’s Most Improved Player award as well as All-Star Game consideration.
Andrew Wiggins also turned in an impressive outing Wednesday, scoring 26 points and adding six rebounds, three assists and three steals in Minnesota’s loss to Utah. Wiggins is averaging over 24 ppg in his 20 games for the Timberwolves this season.
BASKETBALL | DECEMBER 5, 2019
Kelly Oubre posted 14 points and 15 rebounds in the Suns’ win at New Orleans on Thursday night. His night included a highlight dunk that had the Suns commentators in awe.
BASKETBALL | DECEMBER 4, 2019
Devonte’ Graham turned a franchise record 10 3-pointers in Charlotte’s win over Golden State, scoring 33 points on the night. Graham has now hit 4 or more triples in 12 of his 25 outings this season and is connecting on 41.5 percent of his 3-point tries this season.
BASKETBALL | DECEMBER 5, 2019
Ben McLemore was torrid from beyond the arc as he drained eight 3-pointers in the Rocket’s win at Toronto Thursday night. McLemore is averaging 10.1 ppg in 22.4 minutes per game in his first season in Houston.
FOOTBALL | NOVEMBER 24, 2019
Steven Sims Jr., has further proved his impact as a rookie on Sunday, returning a 91 yard kick for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions. The kickoff return was Sims’ first for a touchdown in his pro career, while his 666 yards are the most in the NFL this season. Sims is also just one of five individuals to return a kickoff for a touchdown this season, with his touchdown on Sunday earning him the NFC Special Teams Player of the Week.
After his second-career touchdown, Sims sat down with Gabe Henderson to take a ride around Redskins Park and talk about football.
–Video via @Redskins Twitter
FOOTBALL | NOVEMBER 24, 2019
On Sunday against the Philadelphia Eagles, Jayhawk Bradley McDougald stepped in front of his second interception of the season, intercepting Eagles’ quarterback Carson Wentz. The interception was McDougald’s 10th of his career, as he has helped the Seahawks to a 9-2 record through week 12 of the regular season.
FOOTBALL | NOVEMBER 17, 2019
Three Jayhawks, Steven Sims Jr., Chris Harris Jr., and Bradley McDougald have earned their way to the 2020 NFL Pro Bowl Ballot, and they need your help to get to play in the Pro Bowl on Jan. 26, 2020 in Orlando, Florida. Voting is open through December 12, with the top voted players at each position earning a spot on their respective team.
Vote here now!
BASKETBALL | November 16, 2019
Devonte’ Graham was impressive in front of the Madison Square Garden crowd, sinking nine 3-pointers en route to a 29-point outing against the Knicks. Graham drained the game-winning basket with 2.1 seconds remaining to seal the win for the Hornets.
On Saturday night, Nov. 7, Gary Woodland was picked, for the first time in his career, to compete in the Presidents Cup for the U.S. Team by team captain Tiger Woods. Coming off a successful PGA Tour season, Woodland got his fourth career victory at the U.S. Open in June, while also claiming two second-place finishes. He will be the first Jayhawk to play in the Presidents Cup in program history.
More recently, Woodland finished in the top-5 of the Zozo Championship in Japan, where he and Woods were paired for the final two rounds.
The Presidents Cup will be held in Melbourne, Australia at The Royal Melbourne Golf Club from Dec. 9-15. For more on Woodland and the U.S. Team selections PresidentsCup.com.
BASKETBALL | NOVEMBER 5, 2019
Devonte’ Graham keyed an impressive 122-120 Charlotte win over the Indiana Pacers, leading his squad with a career-high 35 points. Graham was 4-of-9 from 3-point range and also converted on 11 of his 14 free throw tries. After the Hornets’ first seven games of 2019-20, he leads the team with 17.3 ppg and is hitting a torrid 46.7 percent of his 3-point attempts. That mark ranks 10th in the NBA among players who are averaging five or more attempts per game.
BASKETBALL | NOVEMBER 4, 2019
Andrew Wiggins notched his fourth 20-point outing in his first six games of the 2019-20 season in the Timberwolves loss at Milwaukee. Wiggins added three rebounds and two blocks, and is No. 2 on his team in scoring, averaging 21.7 points per game after the first two weeks of the season.
FOOTBALL | NOVEMBER 4, 2019
In the fourth quarter of the Dallas Cowboys vs. New York Giants Monday Night Football matchup, Dorance Armstrong Jr., snuck around the Giants’ left tackle before knocking the ball loose from quarterback Daniel Jones. The fumble was recovered by Cowboy Jourdan Lewis and returned for a touchdown, as the Cowboys ran away with a 37-18 victory. The sack marked Armstrong’s second of the season and the first forced fumble of his career.
BASKETBALL | November 1, 2019
Marcus Morris poured in 29 points against his former team as the Knicks fell to the Celtics, 104-102, in Boston. Morris went 5-for-8 from the beyond the 3-point line and added nine rebounds and 3 assists in 39 minutes. Morris is averaging 17.9 points per game after the first two weeks of the season, the second-highest on the New York squad.
BASKETBALL | October 28, 2019
In his second outing of the 2019-20 season, Joel Embiid turned in another eye-popping performance in the Sixers’ win at Atlanta on Oct. 28. The All-NBA center scored 36 points and added 13 rebounds in 33 minutes. Embiid’s night also featured a posterizing dunk that made waves across social media.
BASKETBALL | October 28, 2019
Devonte’ Graham turned in his first-career double-double as the Charlotte Hornets fell to the Los Angeles Clippers on Oct. 28. Graham was 5-for-11 from the field and 2-of-6 from deep as he posted his third double-digit scoring effort in his first four outings of the season. He also added a career-high 12 assists.
GOLF | October 27, 2019
Gary Woodland finished an impressive outing at the Zozo Championship in Chiba, Japan, on Sunday, Oct. 27. Woodland carded 64-66-68-70 for 12-under par 286 and finished fifth on the leaderboard. This marks Woodland’s second top-5 finish of the 2020 tour and the 40th top-10 finish of his career.
BASKETBALL | October 25, 2019
The Charlotte Hornets’ Devonte’ Graham continued his torrid start to the 2019-20 NBA season with a 24-point, four-assist outing in a loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves Friday night. The former Kansas standout connected on 6-of-9 of his 3-point attempts and is now 12-of-16 from long-range in his first two outings of the season.
BASKETBALL | October 23, 2019
Kelly Oubre Jr. kicked off his sixth season in the NBA on a high note, posting 21 points and pulling down nine rebounds in the Phoenix Suns’ 124-95 win over the Sacramento Kings. Oubre Jr. was 8-of-17 from the field and added two blocks, a steal and an assist in his 2019-20 debut.
BASKETBALL | October 22, 2019
There will be 11 Kansas Jayhawks on opening day rosters for the 2019-20 NBA regular season that begins Tuesday, Oct. 22. Since 2005, Kansas has had at least 10 players on NBA opening-day rosters each year.
Get the full rundown on the Jayhawks in the NBA this season ➙ kuathne.ws/2JaH9Qc
Jayhawks on 2019-20 NBA Opening Day Rosters
|Frank Mason III
|New York Knicks
|Kelly Oubre Jr.
FOOTBALL | October 16, 2019
Ben Heeney Drafted to XFL’s New York Guardians
In the defensive front portion of the XFL’s inaugural draft, the New York Guardians drafted Jayhawk Ben Heeney with the seventh overall pick on Oct. 16. As a Jayhawk, Heeney played in 40 games amassing 334 combined tackles and four interceptions. Heeney went on to make stops with the Oakland Raiders, New Orleans Saints and the Houston Texans in the NFL.
Seattle Dragons Draft Steven Johnson
Steven Johnson was the second Jayhawk taken off the board at the XFL draft on Oct. 15, when the Seattle Dragons selected him with the sixth pick in round six (No. 46 overall) of the defensive front portion of the draft. At Kansas, Johnson tallied 225 combined tackles in 35 games as a Jayhawk. After his time in Lawrence, Johnson spent time with the Denver Broncos, Tennessee Titans, Pittsburgh Steelers and Tennessee Titans in the NFL and the Arizona Hotshots in the Alliance of American Football.
John Wirtel to the St. Louis Battlehawks
Kansas’ John Wirtel was selected by the St. Louis Battlehawks in the inaugural XFL draft in the specialists portion of the draft. Wirtel, who played for the Jayhawks from 2013-15 as a longsnapper, spent time with the Chicago Bears during the 2019 training camp, before landing a spot on the St. Louis Battlehawks on Oct. 15.
Ben Johnson added to the Seattle Dragons
In phase two of the open draft, Jayhawk tight end Ben Johnson was selected to the Seattle Dragons. Johnson recently spent time with the Los Angeles Chargers during training camp in his rookie season. While at Kansas, Johnson hauled in 61 receptions for 670 yards and two touchdowns in 31 career games.
FOOTBALL | October 13, 2019
Jayhawk in Action: Chris Harris Jr., Denver Broncos
NFL veteran Chris Harris Jr., set the tone early in the game for the Denver Broncos against the Tennessee Titans on Sunday, intercepting quarterback Marcus Mariota and returning it 11 yards just before halftime.
Harris’ interception was the first of the season for him, but he helped propel the Broncos defense to three interceptions and seven sacks, leading to the Broncos shutout of the Titans, 19-0.
The interception was also Harris’ 20th of his career, as he became just the 12th Bronco in franchise history to reach the milestone.
FOOTBALL | October 6, 2019
Jayhawk in Action: Steven Sims Jr., Washington Redskins
In just his rookie season, Jayhawk Steven Sims Jr., has been running loose with the Washington Redskins this season, scoring his first-career touchdown against the New England Patriots on October 6.
In the first quarter of the game, Sims took the end-around handoff from quarterback Colt McCoy, before Sims made it around the edge and shook off numerous Patriots defenders. Sims then used his speed along the sideline to take it to the house for a 65-yard touchdown, the first of his young career.
So far this season, Sims has been a bright spot for an 0-5 Redskins team, as he ranked third in the NFL in kick return yards following week five of the NFL season with 205 yards. Offensively, Sims has caught four passes for 25 yards and one rush for 65 yards, resulting in a touchdown.
FOOTBALL | October 6, 2019
Jayhawk in Action: Dorance Armstrong Jr., Dallas Cowboys
Now in his second year in the NFL, Dorance Armstrong Jr., made his presence felt against the Green Bay Packers on October 6, where Armstrong was able to get to Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers to record his first-career NFL sack.
In the fourth quarter of the game, Armstrong burst through the middle of the Packers’ offensive line, before coming down on Rodgers for a loss of 12 yards. Armstrong finished the game with a career-high three tackles.
TRACK & FIELD | October 2, 2019
Jayhawk in Action: Bryce Hoppel, Team USA
In his first-career World Championship appearance, Bryce Hoppel made his impact on the World stage in the 800 meters, where he advanced through the qualifying round, semifinals round all the way to the event finals on October 1. In the finals, Hoppel capped off his standout season by running the fastest time of his career, 1:44.25, en route to placing fourth overall.
Hoppel’s fourth-place finish comes after winning both indoor and outdoor NCAA titles during the 2018-19 track and field season, before turning pro and placing third at the USATF Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, Iowa.
FOOTBALL | September 24, 2019
Jayhawk in Action: Steven Sims Jr., Washington Redskins
Steven Sims Jr., more than left his mark on the Kansas football program and early in his professional career with the Washington Redskins of the National Football League (NFL), Sims is doing more of the same.
Through the first three games of the 2019 NFL season, Sims leads the league in kickoff return yards with 168 yards on seven attempts. He turned in a career-long run of 45 yards in the Redskins’ Monday Night game against the Chicago Bears.
A pretty impressive start for the undrafted free agent wide receiver/kick returner.
FOOTBALL | September 15, 2019
Jayhawk in Action: Bradley McDougald, Seattle Seahawks
McDougald recorded three tackles and an interception to help pace the Seahawks to a week 2 win over the Pittsburgh Steelers, 28-26.
BASKETBALL | July 27, 2019
Jayhawk in Action: Frank Mason, Milwaukee Bucks
The Milwaukee Bucks signed guard Frank Mason III to a Two-Way contracts. Mason III appeared in 38 games for the Sacramento Kings last season and averaged 5.1 points, 2.2 assists and 1.1 rebounds in 11.4 minutes per game. In two seasons with the Kings, Mason III averaged 6.8 points, 2.6 assists and 1.9 rebounds. He was drafted by the Kings with the 34th overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft after finishing a highly-decorated collegiate career at Kansas as the consensus National Player of the Year.
BASKETBALL | July 24, 2019
Jayhawk in Action: Ben McLemore, Houston Rockets
The Houston Rockets signed Ben McLemore to a two-year deal. McLemore is a 6’5”, 26-year-old shooting guard who once showed some promise in averaging 12.1 points per game in the 2014-2015 season, but his playing time has steadily decreased since then, and he played in just 19 games last year with the Sacramento Kings, averaging just 8.3 minutes per game, though he did shoot 41 percent from deep in limited opportunity.
He carries career averages of 8.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists on 41.7 percent shooting from the field and 35.3 percent shooting from beyond the arc in five seasons with the Kings and one with the Memphis Grizzlies.