Ochai Agbaji NBA scouting report: Kansas star has advanced right into a 2022 lottery decide

It is uncommon to see a senior projected to go within the lottery of the NBA Draft nowadays, however Kansas star Ochai Agbaji has advanced his sport into changing into one of many prime prospects within the 2022 draft class.

It took all of eight minutes in Saturday’s Closing 4 showdown in opposition to Villanova for Agbaji to show his development as a participant, firing away from 3-point land together with his dramatically improved stroke from past the arc.

By the under-12 media timeout within the first half, Agbaji had already knocked down 4 3-pointers, outscoring Villanova by himself with a 4-for-4 begin from lengthy vary.

Agbaji had struggled to shoot within the first three video games of the NCAA Event. He was 2-for-12 from 3 earlier than the Elite Eight, the place he lastly bought the lid off the rim in opposition to Miami. Agbaji went 2-for-2 from deep in an environment friendly 18-point sport in opposition to the Hurricanes to assist Kansas advance to the Closing 4, and his sizzling hand clearly carried over onto an even bigger and brighter stage.

Agbaji poured in 21 factors on 6-of-7 taking pictures from 3-point vary whereas enjoying high-level protection, giving NBA scouts a take a look at how he might excel in a 3-and-D position on the subsequent stage.

MORE: Noh – Evaluating NCAA expertise like an NBA scout at Closing 4

At 21 years previous, Agbaji is proof {that a} path to the NBA remains to be open even when you aren’t a one-and-done participant.

Agbaji went from a projected second-round decide, at finest, throughout his first three years at Kansas, to a lock of an early first-rounder by the top of his senior season.

How?

For one, he has polished his perimeter taking pictures yearly in school, now wanting like probably the most NBA-ready prospects this 12 months.

World-renowned NBA scout Mike Schmitz even went so far as to say that Agbaji “might play 25+ minutes in an NBA sport tomorrow.”

However what’s it about Agbaji’s sport that has him rising up Mock Draft boards?

Ochai Agbaji’s strengths

At 6-foot-5, 215 kilos with a 6-foot-10 wingspan, the Jayhawks star has all the measurables of a bodily, athletic and switchy wing on the NBA stage. He at all times had the energy, pace and burst, and leaping potential of an NBA prospect however his talent was lagging behind a bit, leaving his potential position as a professional in query.

That was till this season the place Agbaji’s relentless work to enhance his perimeter taking pictures has come to fruition. Now, he is wanting like among the best 3-and-D prospects this 12 months’s draft class has to supply.

MORE: North Carolina vs. Kansas: Odds, picks, predictions for nationwide championship

Agbaji’s development as a shooter is extraordinarily spectacular, flattening 3s at a better clip on extra makes an attempt in every of his 4 seasons at Kansas.

Ochai Agbaji’s 3-point taking pictures at Kansas
Season 3PM 3PA 3P%
Freshman, 2018-19 1.0 3.4 30.7
Sophomore, 2019-20 1.5 4.4 33.8
Junior, 2020-21 2.6 6.9 37.7
Senior, 2021-22 2.7 6.5 41.1

Agbaji has a lightning-quick launch on his jumper. He hardly brings the ball down when he receives a go, making for a quick catch-and-shoot that provides defenders restricted time to shut out.

He is decisive on the catch, not often hesitating earlier than he fires away. He nonetheless has loads of room to develop as a shot creator (and enhancing his ball-handling will assist in that side). Right here, Agbaji has carried out a pleasant job utilizing his menace as a shooter to his benefit, attacking defenders who shut out off-balance, slicing by way of defenses to get to the rim and end.

He is attending to the free throw line extra steadily than another season of his school profession (albeit nonetheless solely 3.8 makes an attempt per sport) and his refined taking pictures stroke has translated to the charity stripe as effectively, making a much-improved 76.4 % of his makes an attempt.

Agbaji will not be requested to create a lot offense for himself on the NBA stage, however proving he has the power to make fast and clever reads when the ball is swung to him on the perimeter – figuring out when to shoot it or put the ball on the ground and get to the basket – is a plus.

He is additionally very energetic off of the ball, at all times shifting and reducing to try to discover open areas. He makes use of his quick-twitch athleticism to offer his teammates passing lanes, elevating off the bottom in a break up second to catch lobs or end dunks. His breakaway pace makes him a terror in transition, working lanes with a goal to beat his opponents up the ground for simple baskets.

Agbaji’s measurables, 3-point taking pictures and excessive motor could have him able to make an influence on the NBA stage instantly.

Ochai Agbaji’s weaknesses

The largest knock on Agbaji’s sport is that he is not a lot of a shot creator. He is a easy ball-handler with a restricted bag of reactionary strikes to beat his defender off of the dribble in isolation.

MORE: Who has declared for the 2022 NBA Draft?

The identical goes for his playmaking. Agbaji could make primary reads as a result of he has a excessive IQ and processes the sport rapidly, however he will not wow you together with his passing potential. He averaged 1.6 assists per sport this season (which can also be his profession common at Kansas). He solely had greater than three assists in three of his 38 video games performed this 12 months and he is not a lot of an offensive initiator or pick-and-roll ball handler.

Except he makes drastic enhancements to his deal with, Agbaji will not be a lot of a combo guard within the NBA, lowering his position to strictly a 3-and-D participant.


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