It’s rare to see a senior in the NBA Draft Lottery these days, but Kansas star Ochai Agbaji has turned his game into one of the best in the 2022 draft class.
It took eight minutes for Agbaji to show off his rise as a player in Saturday’s final four showdown with Villanova, firing away from 3-point land with his dramatically improved stroke from beyond the arc.
By the end of the Under-12 media time in the first half, Agbaji had already knocked down four 3-pointers, overtaking Villanova himself 4-4-4 from Long Range.
Ochai Agbaji was already on fire for Kansas pic.twitter.com/lUTK50sdZu
– Bleacher Report (leBleacherReport) April 2, 2022
Agbaji worked hard to shoot in the first three games of the NCAA tournament. He was 2-12 from 3 to 12 before the Elite Eight, where he finally closed the rim against Miami. Agbaji went from deep to 2-2-2 in an effective 18-point game against the Hurricanes to help Kansas reach the final four and his hot hand clearly carried him to the bigger and brighter stage.
Agbazi scored 21 points in a 6-off-7 shooting while playing high-level defense, giving the NBA Scouts how he could excel in the 3-and-D role at the next level.
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At 21 years old, Agbaji is proving that a path to the NBA is still open.
Agbaji went from an expected second-round pick in Kansas in his first three years, to an early first-rounder by the end of his senior season.
One, he improved his perimeter shooting every year in college, and now looks like one of the most NBA-ready opportunities this year.
World famous NBA scout Mike Schmidt That also went Agbazi “can play 25+ minutes in tomorrow’s NBA game.”
But what is he raising mock draft boards in the Agbazi game?
Ochai Agbaji strengths
At 215 pounds with a 6-foot-5, 6-foot-10 wing area, the Jaihawks star has all the dimensions of a physical, athletic and switching wing at the NBA level. He always has the strength, speed and explosiveness and jumping ability of an NBA opportunity, but his skill lags slightly behind, leaving his potential character pro.
Until this season Agbaji had worked tirelessly to improve his perimeter shooting. Now, he looks like one of the best 3-and-D opportunities the draft class has to offer this year.
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Agbaji’s rise as a shooter has been impressive, knocking down 3 seconds on most clips in most of his four seasons in Kansas.
|Second year, 2019-20||1.5||4.4||33.8|
Agbaji had a lightning-quick release on his jumper. He did not bring the ball down when he received the pass, but made a quick catch-and-shoot, giving the defenders limited time to close.
He was decisive in the catch, he rarely hesitated to fire away. He still has a lot of room to grow as a shot creator (and improving his ball-handling will help in that regard). Here, Agbaji did a good job of using his threat as a shooter to his advantage, attacking defenders closing the balance, slicing the defenses to reach and finish the rim.
He’s reaching the free throw line more than any other season in his college career (although still only 3.8 attempts per game) and his refined shooting stroke has also been translated into the charity strip, thus improving 76.4 percent of his efforts. .
Agbaji does not ask himself to commit too much offense at the NBA level, but has proven that he is able to read quickly and intelligently when the ball is flipped around him on the perimeter – knowing when to shoot it or where to put the ball to reach the ground and the basket – is a plus.
He is very active with the ball, always moving and trying to find open spaces. He uses his quick-spinning athleticism to elevate the ground in a split second for his teammates to cross lanes, catch labs or complete dunks. His split speed makes him terrifying in transition, running lanes with the intention of easily knocking his opponents to the ground for baskets.
Agbazi’s dimensions, 3-point shooting and high motor are ready to impress him immediately at the NBA level.
Ochai Agbaji Weaknesses
The biggest knock on Agbaji’s game is that he’s not a very shot creator. He is a regular ball-handler with limited reactionary moves to beat his defender from the dribble alone.
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His play making is the same. Agbaji can do basic reads because he has a high IQ and processes the game quickly, but he will not surprise you with his passing. He averaged 1.6 assists per game this season (which is also his career average in Kansas). He has only had more than three assists in 38 games played this year and he is not a very risky initiator or pick-and-roll ball handler.
Unless he makes serious improvements in his handle, Agbaji will not be a combo guard in the NBA, reducing his role to that of a strictly 3-and-D player.