Kansas City guard Ochai Agbaji to reveal college pick Thursday afternoon


Kansas University basketball recruiting

Kansas University basketball recruiting

Oak Park High senior Ochai Agbaji (pronounced Och-eye A-ba-gee), a 6-foot-5 wing regarded by many as the best player in the Kansas City area, is ready to announce his college of choice.

And he plans to do it at 2 p.m. Thursday during a ceremony at Oak Park.

Agbaji's recruitment is not the typical chase for the stars that that KU program is known to be involved with. But the Jayhawks, along with a handful of other schools from Power 5 conferences — Nebraska, Oregon, Wisconsin and Texas A&M among them — recently jumped into the race to land one of the fastest-rising recruits still available in the 2018 class.

Unranked by and slotted as the No. 328 prospect in the nation by 247 Sports — No. 75 overall among shooting guards and No. 11 in the state of Missouri — the 6-foot-5, 195-pound wing first received an offer from Kansas last weekend, after KU coach Bill Self made the drive over to watch Agbaji play live.

In that game, Agbaji poured in 29 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, displaying the kind of all-around game that has attracted some of the biggest programs in college basketball to take a closer look of late.

Dubbed by 247 Sports recruiting analyst Matt Scott “a walking box score,” Agbaji grew an inch from his playing days with MOKAN Elite last summer and has drawn comparisons to former KU star and Kansas City native Travis Releford but with a better jump shot.

After receiving an official scholarship offer from Self and the Jayhawks last week, Agbaji told Scott he was “excited about it” and added that it was “an honor.”

Those statements, along with an announcement date coming two days before he was expected to take an official visit to Oregon State over the weekend, have some thinking Kansas is in good shape with Agbaji.

But Kansas or not, the Jayhawks and the rest of the surging shooting guard's suitors will know by Thursday afternoon where Agbaji is headed.

Should Agbaji pick Kansas, he would become the fifth player in KU's 2018 class, joining five-star guards Devon Dotson and Quentin Grimes and Top 40 big men Silvio De Sousa, who already with the team but still counts in the 2018 class, and David McCormack.

With De Sousa already having a scholarship and Dotson, Grimes and McCormack taking the scholarships made available by the combined departures of Billy Preston, Devonte' Graham and Svi Mykhailiuk, adding an additional player — or two; KU remains in the hunt for five-star guard Romeo Langford — would put Kansas one player over the scholarship limit and create an interesting situation heading into the offseason.

There would, of course, be all kinds of options — not to mention time — for Self and company to figure out the numbers crunch. And with Lagerald Vick, Udoka Azubuike and Malik Newman all having been kicked around as potential early-departures and transfers always being an option, it's not hard to see how Kansas could make any scenario (adding one player, two players or no players) work, should the need arise.

Check back with Thursday afternoon for more on Agbaji's big announcement.


Shannon Gustafson 1 year ago

Interesting timing considering he just started getting big offers in the last couple weeks. Makes me hope it's because he's a KU fan at heart and once he got the offer the decision was made immediately.

Not sure how I feel about him getting an offer and committing knowing Langford is still out there. Does this mean KU doesn't feel good about getting Langford, or are they enamored with Ochai as a local kid and don't want to miss out on a good multi-year player, or do they know they will have enough scholarship wiggle room for both if lucky enough to get both, or is there no link?.

At the beginning of the year I figured Newman was gone for sure. After the first half of the season I figured Vick was gone as well since he was playing so well. Now I'm not so sure about Newman since he seems to be buying in to the KU "team" concept and isn't playing out of this world to make himself a lock to get drafted. Vick is clearly playing himself out of the draft and I'm starting to wonder if he's still "all in" with KU or if he's already got a foot out the door (overseas league or G league). I'd be surprised if Dok leaves as his game doesn't fit the modern NBA where bigs have 3 point range, and he's very raw (free throws, doesn't have a good left hand hook, doesn't "bring it" every game, rebounding is weak, etc.). No reason they won't all enter the draft and get evaluated but that doesn't mean they are leaving (like Svi last year). So figuring out where the scholarship situation will end up is certainly difficult.

Jonathan Allison 1 year ago

"Not sure how I feel about him getting an offer and committing knowing Langford is still out there. Does this mean KU doesn't feel good about getting Langford, or are they enamored with Ochai as a local kid and don't want to miss out on a good multi-year player"

I agree! While I'm always glad for a kid to choose Kansas, it makes me wonder about Langford. I'm not sure that signing Ochai necessarily signals the end for our recruitment of Langford. Sure, getting one of the two indicates that someone is leaving the program, so if we keep land Ochai and keep on Langford does Self know that two players are likely gone?

I guess I could see Vick or Newman pulling a Selden and leaving early when they aren't projected in the draft and taking a gamble that they can work their way onto a team through the G League if they have to.

Aaron Paisley 1 year ago

Romeo Langford is not coming to Kansas. That's why this offer was made.

Steve Johnson 1 year ago

Vick will be gone with the new class coming in he will either transfer or go play in Europe. Newman same thing. I think Dok will stay as he will play his way next year into a top 10 pick. DeSousa may be gone as well as he might be good in practice but there is no confidence in him by anyone including himself. Going to need as many new shooters as we can get.

Dale Kroening 1 year ago

Sorry Steve , but you're way off . Vick , Dok , and DeSousa will all definitely be back . Only one I could see leaving is Newman if he does well in pre draft workouts . Another possibility , although it would be a mistake is Cunliffe . He's not happy and with what we have coming in next season , and already have its going to be hard for him to see the court . All depends if he really wants to lose another year of eligibility by transferring .

Jonathan Allison 1 year ago

I expect to see Vick and Dok back. And agree that De Sousa is staying put. Newman could pull a Selden and take a bet on himself. Also I won't be shocked if Dedric Lawson decides to go pro rather than battle for PT at Kansas.

Tim Marshall 1 year ago

Lawson will start at the 4. His talent, combined with a year of practicing with the team, puts him well above anyone that would compete for time at that spot. Considering he's not on any draft boards, I don't see him going pro after sitting for a year.

Craig Carson 1 year ago

@Jonathan..Dedric Lawson will start over ANY freshmen coming into KU next season..the dude was a 5* MCAA who nearly averaged a double double..If Dok stays, he'd be the PERFECT compliment to him..I dont think Newman planned on playing at KU more than a season anyway..Cunliffe might leave BUT, at 6'6 and athletic, he could play SF..and right now the only person he'd have to beat out is KJ Lawson..but if he did stay, who is to say he doesnt start in 2020?

Steve Johnson 1 year ago

You may be right. A lot depends on what happens the rest of the season. If the new guys coming in are game changers like many say, you will see a couple of people leave because they will get no playing time. Forgot about Sam, he won't get any time but he has already switched once so he may just stick it out and be a practice player.

Aaron Paisley 1 year ago

Vick may not be backed. Getting benched midseason cannot be a good sign for a player going forward. He's also had off the court issues as well as Vick figured very prominently in the Josh Jackson amd women's player incident last year. He's also been directly or indirectly involved in other drama as well and Self may be ready to cut ties with Vick.

Craig Carson 1 year ago

@aaron..that was also last season..Vick has been spotless this year..and yes, it doesnt bode well for a Junior being benched BUT, that doesnt mean he couldnt come back as a senior and turn things around...Vick played is @$$ off on the court..he is in a shooting funk and has lack of ball handling skills dont allow to to drive very well..a lot to improve on but he isnt a lost cause by any means

Allan Olson 1 year ago

At this moment in time all 13 scholarships are technically used for: the 3 committed high school McDonald All America's; the 3 redshirting transfers already practicing; and, the 7 current rotation players not graduating. Any scholarship[s] for Langford and Ochai will obviously need to come from those 7. Expect the easiest call is Cunliffe becomes the odd man out. Secondly, with all talent then using those 13 scholarships, there is no pressing need for one-and -done Langford. Romeo would just take up valuable playing time from all the other NOT one-and-done guards. Ochai could also take prep school year before joining KU, or more likely redshirt his first year. Cunliffe, for whatever the reasons, has already been chalked up by the coaches as a disappointment. He's been practicing and playing major college ball into 4 semesters now!

Jesse Johnson 1 year ago

Cunliffe is far from the easiest call. He's already sat out a year with the transfer so he can't transfer again without losing a year of eligibility and it would be pretty crappy of Self to bring a kid over, have him sit a year, then take away his scholarship without him having an option to transfer somewhere else.

Craig Carson 1 year ago

Cunliffe isnt a lost cause..he has the talent but he hasnt yet grasped what Self wants him to do on defense..from what I can see, he KNOWS he has a short leash, so when he does play, he feels the need to make a huge impression....on a Self coached team, if you can defend and rebound, you will play..those 2 things alone is why Garrett has played and Cunliffe has not

Craig Carson 1 year ago

@Steve..DeSousa has played in 6 games thus far..what were you expecting, for him to walk in an average 8-10 points and 7-8 rebounds? He is a young kid who was thrown into the middle of the season..the skill is there, but the game seems to be moving too fast for him right now..give the kid some time geesh dude..come next season he will be completely new player...Vick might be gone, but its a better chance he will stay..Self likes experience and a senior Vick who knows the offense might still be better than a freshmen Grimes..Newman might leave, but not because he'd be afraid of being bumped out of his starting spot..he has played very well since the ISU game..IF he leaves, it will be because his draft stock may never be higher..he's already been in college 2 more years than anyone expected

Robert Brock 1 year ago

Dedric Lawson will start and get all the PT he wants.

Newman will return for his Junior season. Vick will leave to begin his professional career.

Romeo Langford will play his college ball at Vanderbilt.

Tony Bandle 1 year ago

Romeo is not coming to Kansas but he is not going to Vandy either . He will,be handed the Keys to the Kingdom at Indiana ala TY at OU.

Andy Godwin 1 year ago

Lagerald Vick, Udoka Azubuike and Malik Newman all having been kicked around as potential early-departure..." Time to strive for continuity and not only target kids who think they are one and dones. Self needs to stop running kids off who he recruits to KU and for someone who looks better in high school (Cunliffe name has been thrown around). Look how much production he got from Cliff Alexander, Chieck Diallo, Carlton Braggs, and Billy Preston. Why KU is in a bind this year because of departures (Coleby and then Whitman) and poor recruiting (Billy Preston, our zero and done and De Sousa - De Sousa should be in next year's class but Self's desperation set in). He chose to stockpile for some experienced players next year, and Dedric is suppose to be the cream of the crop. Sam is a great kid and should not be run out of town. We need to have 3/4/5 year guys to get back to final four. Clearly Vick, Udoka, and Newman need another year. Udoka needs to learn to shoot more than 12 inches from the basket to make it to the next level. Without another recruit this team (on paper) should be better than this year's group, but striving for player continuity will lead to even better teams. Where would KU be without their seniors this year - bottom of Big 12?

Craig Carson 1 year ago

@Any..the kids who tend to be OAD tend to be kids in the top 25..Neither DeSousa or McCormack are in that right there you have 2 guys who could stay 2-3 year..what else is Self to do, if he gets top kids, fans like you complain, but if he doesnt get kids like that, and brings in a bunch of no names, then fans like you begin to question his ability to recruit and your optimism for the upcoming season would be very low...Self doesnt build his teams with top 25 kids and he has had more top kids stay than have left..

Steve Corder 1 year ago

I love crystal balls. Kind a like snow globes.

An aside. Texas Tech looked strong last night. They're emerging at the right time and are the team to beat.

Love my Jayhawks, with or without the streak.

Marc Frey 1 year ago

As we read about the football program recruiting too many JuCo players and how that affects our numbers I have to wonder what is the right amount of OAD vs 3-4 year players. This year, we are seeing what has happened when we sign too many OAD and transfers.

Ryan Zimmerman 1 year ago

KC kid getting KU love and being unranked? He's going to be a Jayhawk. My prediction.

Harlan Hobbs 1 year ago

Udoka won't be back. He's a 7 footer with a huge upside. Many NBA teams would take him in a heartbeat. Remember, they took Cheick Diallo almost sight unseen, and Udoka is far better and has considerably more potential.

Hard to tell about Newman and Vick. My gut feeling is that at least one of them will leave. As for Langford, I agree with Tony and Robert. He will go somewhere he can be "handed the keys", which apparently is either Indiana or Vanderbilt.

In any event, KU will again be loaded next year.

Aaron Paisley 1 year ago

Udoka is still way too raw. He needs to be able to make shot beyond 4 feet which he can't do yet.

Craig Carson 1 year ago

I think in the past, that would be true..but unfortunately, Azibuike's game isnt up to date..there arent too many big men in the NBA these days that dont shoot the 10 ft shots or even 3's and just plant themselves in the post..not to mention his FT are atrocious..could he go pro and make a roster, yes, but could he also stay and add another move besides a running hook (which will get blocked EVERYTIME in the NBA), absolutely..I honestly hope he stays another year and adds more to his game but if he leaves, Ill wish him the best

Alan Dickey 1 year ago

We'll have all or most of the following, which is impressive even if we lose 1-3 players:

C - Udoka Azubuike / Jr. / 7-0 / 280
C - David McCormack / Fr. / 6-10/ 260 (Rivals #34)
PF - Dedric Lawson / RS-Jr. / 6-9 / 230
PF - Silvio De Sousa / So. / 6-9 / 245 (Rivals #25)
PF - Mitch Lightfoot / Jr. / 6-8 / 210

SG - LaGerald Vick / Sr. / 6-5 / 175
SF - KJ Lawson / RS-So. / 6-8 / 210
SF - Sam Cunliffe / RS-Jr. / 6-6 / 190

SG - Malik Newman / RS-Jr. / 6-3 / 190
SG - Quentin Grimes / Fr. / 6-5 / 180 (Rivals #10)
PG - Devon Dotson / Fr. / 6-2 / 180 (Rivals #17)
PG - Marcus Garrett / So. / 6-5 / 180
PG - Charlie Moore / RS-So. / 5-11 / 170

The only KU underclassman I can find in the mock drafts is Vick at the bottom of the second round. Hopefully, Azubuike and Vick return.

Ryan Zimmerman 1 year ago

I expect Dok and Vick to leave as well as Cunliffe. I know Cunliffe loses another year of eligiblity, etc but if he's not playing this year with a shallow bench, he sure won't play next year. If Newman stays, which assuming he will, no way we get Langford with Q and Devon already coming in. I don't think we'd get Langford anyway, but no way he wants to compete to start. Only way he entertains the idea is if Self tells him he'd take Newman's spot.

Allan Olson 1 year ago

Ryan, just where will Dok and Vick leave TO? NBA teams do not need a 7', two-handed dunker, already got enough. Both gentlemen have lots to learn and demonstrate consistently, to even be successful in getting the attention G League.. Vick's game has turned fragile against the stress of higher competition every night. Maybe the level of KU guard competition coming next year will wake him up for these next 10 to 12 games. Six foot-four guards, with way better talents than he's shown, are a dime a dozen throughout NCAA tournament teams

Ryan Zimmerman 1 year ago

I don't disagree with your assessment at all. I'm just saying I could see Vick trying to get drafted and if he doesn't, which he won't, he'll head overseas or play in the D league. I think Dok is about potential too, just like Diallo was (like Harlan said above). I just have some feeling on Dok and his attitude. Not that it's bad, but he seems to not be happy as a whole. Self rags on him extremely hard and part of me wonders if he leaves school and see what he can do on his own. Again, agree with your points, just saying I could see it happening due to reasons that don't make sense to us fans

Allan Olson 1 year ago

Alan, Self would not be offering 1 or 2 additional scholarships if the above is set in stone. He's written off Cunliffe and that scholarship will not be renewed for next year. The "spin" will be its Sam's need for more playing, to save embarrassment. Same as Carlton!

Roger Ortega 1 year ago

I wonder if coach is just seeing long term here for the program. Someone he can develop like Mason & Graham, which I'm sure was mentioned on more than one occasion in the recruitment of Agbaji. How could that not be impressive to an unranked local kid?

Regarding next years team, I think Dok is back. Though he's getting better I can't see him leaving next year. Same with Malik. Vick is hard to say. It would be really good to have all those guys back as we'll have some really good veterans next year to lead the new crop. Because even though The Lawsons and Moore are practicing this year they haven't played for KU in game time so we'll need experience in Self's system leading the way. I'm excited for next year but there will be growing pains. I'm SUPER excited for 2 years down when all these guys mature. Yes some will leave but a majority won't! RCJH

Keith Gellar 1 year ago

Dubbed by 247 Sports recruiting analyst Matt Scott “a walking box score"...

Just the fact that Matt Scott is almost always wrong on recruiting and assessing talent and can't find his way out of a a paper bag, we should avoid this recruit like the plague.

Idk what the answer is - maybe we need a gofundme page to keep matt away from ku bball. how abt we ship him over to UK or Duke.

Allan Olson 1 year ago

Guess you believe the entire KU coaching staff relies totally on the opinions of Mark Scott? You are very astute.

Jesse Johnson 1 year ago

I'm at the point where I almost think if Vick left after this year, it would be addition by subtraction. He's been here 3 years and I still can't even figure out what he does for the team other than catch and shoot or catch and dunk. He scored a lot of points in the non-conference against weaker teams but has failed to show up when we need him against solid competition. He's a pretty good 3 point shooter, if he can get open, but he just doesn't seem to be a playmaker. I'd rather his senior minutes go towards someone who can make plays, like Quentin Grimes or even Cunliffe. Maybe he'll prove me wrong and turn things around this year or stay and have an awesome year, but at this point I just don't see what he is providing to the team.

Craig Carson 1 year ago

Vick gives great effort on D and rebounds well for a guard..his main issue is his ball handling skills..those HAVE to get better..otherwise he is simply a catch and shoot guy with the occasional dunk..But I did like his activity last game, even though his outside shot didnt fall

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