Wednesday, June 12, 2019 1:02 PM | CBN
By: Liam Blutman
Here’s a rarity... I’m going to highlight a player who attends a program in a major conference. True, I mostly write about players at mid-majors like Colgate or Furman but right now, the focus is on Kansas and their rising star, Ochai Agbaji.
Ochai is a 6’5” guard hailing from Kansas City, Missouri. The 132nd ranked player in the 2018 class decided to choose Kansas over Oregon State, Fresno State, Air Force, Loyola-Chicago, and many other schools, where playing time would’ve been handed to him as a freshman. Instead Ochai opted to stay close to home, play for this historic Jayhawks program and earn his playing time. The plan was for him to redshirt, but Ochai worked hard and after some unfortunate injuries/suspensions that hit the team, the redshirt was burned and Ochai was given his opportunity to play. January 9th was his first game against TCU. Ochai played 25 minutes and scored 7 points. He came off the bench for the first 6 games of his career, but in late January he finally got an opportunity to start a road game at Texas. And what a dominant performance from the young Agbaji. 24 points on 8-10 shooting, 7 rebounds, and 2 steals in 35 minutes of play. Ochai ended up starting 16 games, played in 22, and earned himself 25.9 minutes per game where he managed to average 8.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and shot an impressive 44.9% from the field. Definitely expect to see his those numbers rise. One aspect of his game that I love would be his defense. While it’s not something that will show up on box scores, he’s very active on that end of the floor, being vocal, forcing turnovers, contesting shots… For students of the game, it's just something you have to love and appreciate. That part of his game was quite evident in his first NCAA Tournament appearance. KU was facing Northeastern, a team with a prolific offense and Kansas won that game 87-53. The Northeastern offense never looked comfortable, shooting 28.1% from the field as Agbaji was just so active on defense, making a huge impact. I’m telling you… if Ochai Agbaji keeps up the intensity on the defensive end of the floor next year, when his offensive numbers and usage rate increase, this kid is going in the lottery. For sure. On the offensive end of the floor, Ochai showed us he’s willing to attack the basket and play fearless. That’s the word from this reporter. He’s pretty athletic, throws down some mean dunks and can hit the three, something I expect him to improve greatly on next year. Ochai shot 30.7% from three and I fully expect that number will be above 38.1% at the end of next year. While he only averaged 0.9 assists per game, just know Ochai is moving the ball around and was hardly a ball hog in season one. I’d expect Ochai to average about two assists per game next year and Isaiah Moss should help out with that as he’ll knock down plenty of trey balls from the corner on looks from Agbaji. Expect that Kansas will look for Agbaji to produce huge this year and thus his usage rate will skyrocket Not only will we see Ochai be the go to player, he might just be the star.
Look out for Ochaii Agbaji, I’m telling you know… he’s going top ten in next years’ draft.
Ochai Agbaji, Top Ten Pick, 2020 Draft.
My predictions for Ochai Agbaji’s 2019-20 season
18.2 PPG or more
6.2 RPG or more
1.9 APG or more
1.1 SPG or more
44.3% FG% or better
38.1% 3-Point % or better
Big-12 Player of the Year
Top 10 Pick 2020 Draft