Texas Tech was leading by three points with less than 15 seconds to go in overtime. Kansas needed Ochai Agbaji to rise to the occasion.
The Jayhawks guard, who’s among the NBA odds leaders to be taken first overall in the draft, stood in the left corner as the clock winded down during a game this past season. As Dajuan Harris Jr. drove from the wing, Agbaji shifted over.
The sequence led to a Red Raiders defender colliding with Harris. That opened up space for a pass to Agbaji and a fadeaway 3-pointer to tie.
The Kansas faithful went into a frenzy. The shot went through without hardly touching the net.
Agbaji can provide a team with critical points, even at the NBA level.
— ESPN (@espn) January 25, 2022
Ochai Agbaji Draft Odds
Agbaji is tied for the sixth-best NBA Draft odds to be selected first overall at +25000. Jabari Smith of Auburn is first at -300, while Duke’s Paolo Banchero is second at +275 and Gonzaga’s Chet Holmgren is third at +400.
The Orlando Magic have the first overall pick after going 22-60 a year ago. The Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets pick second and third, respectively.
|Name||Position||Team||1st Pick Odds (6/22)|
|Jabari Smith Jr.||F||Auburn||-300|
|Dyson Daniels||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|MarJon Beauchamp||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|Jaden Hardy||G||NBA G League Ignite||+50000|
|Nikola Jovic||F||Mega Mozzart (Serbia)||+50000|
|Blake Wesley||G||Notre Dame||+50000|
Ochai Agbaji Draft Pick Projection
At No. 14 overall, the Cleveland Cavaliers could use an off-ball wing like Agbaji.
In 2021-2022, Cleveland was 20th in offensive rating, fifth in defensive rating, and 13th in net rating. It was also 12th in rebounding percentage and 14th in effective field goal percentage.
Point guard Darius Garland led the way for the Cavs with 21.7 points and 8.6 assists to go with 1.3 steals per game. Center Jarrett Allen was next with 16.1 points per game and paced the squad with 10.8 rebounds.
But no off-ball wing was in Cleveland’s top six in scoring average a year ago. Agbaji could help round out the roster and help them get past the NBA’s play-in tournament next season.
Ochai Agbaji Stats
Agbaji is a rare potential lottery selection who played in college for four years. So staying until his final year at Kansas was worthwhile.
Agbaji was the NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Player and Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player on the way to leading the Jayhawks to a national title. In addition, he was a consensus first-team All-American and unanimously the conference’s player of the year. He was a finalist for the Wooden Award, Naismith Player of the Year Award and Jerry West Shooting Guard of the Year honor as well.
Agbaji led the Big 12 in scoring (18.8 points per game) and games of 20 or more points (19). In addition, he was second in 3-point percentage (40.9) and third in field goal percentage (47.5). In that game against Texas Tech, he established a career-high with 37 points and seven 3s.
He was an All-Big 12 honorable mention both as a junior and sophomore. He played as a true freshman and started the final 16 contests of the year.
He averaged 13.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and one steal per game for his career. He made 45% of his shots, 37% from the 3-point arc, and 71% of his free throws.
Ochai Agbaji Draft Profile
Agbaji threw down some emphatic alley-oop dunks during his collegiate career. But his repertoire goes well beyond that. He proved this during his fantastic run through last season’s NCAA Tournament.
Agbaji is not overly fast, which doesn’t help him on offense or defense. But he makes up for that in other ways.
When driving, he varies his pace to keep defenders on their heels. He’s also physical, especially when going to the hoop.
He’s constantly active off the ball, with backdoor cuts offensively or when he’s playing help defense on the other end.
Ochai Agbaji went SHOWTIME 🌟
— NCAA March Madness (@MarchMadnessMBB) December 30, 2021
Agbaji can shoot off the dribble or off the pass, and he hits attempts from NBA range. However, he’s often in a rhythm when he makes shots, so pros may force him out of his comfort zone a little more.
While he plays with textbook technique defensively, his lack of top-end speed meant he was sometimes vulnerable. However, he could also consistently handle the ball more precisely to avoid turnovers.
However, in totality, Agbaji should provide a boost for any NBA franchise.
OCHAI AGBAJI = VERY GOOD AT 🏀 pic.twitter.com/nMjIIGFbmK
— Kansas Men’s Basketball (@KUHoops) January 25, 2022
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