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Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Latest ESPN mock draft doesn’t include any Jayhawks

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) is surrounded in the paint by three West Virginia defenders during the first half, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji (30) is surrounded in the paint by three West Virginia defenders during the first half, Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2020 at Allen Fieldhouse.

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If the latest projections from ESPN’s Jonathan Givony are correct, there won’t be any Jayhawks selected in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Fresh off last week’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago, Givony updated his mock draft and the newest version published at ESPN.com doesn’t include University of Kansas early entry prospect Ochai Agbaji who went through testing, drills and played in a scrimmage setting at the combine.

That was a slight change from Givony’s previous projections from before the combine, which predicted Agbaji would be the 59th player to go in the 60-player draft.

The only former KU player to appear on the most recent mock draft for ESPN was Quentin Grimes, who played just one season for the Jayhawks (2018-19) before transferring to Houston. Coming off a junior year for the Cougars in which the team reached the Final Four and Grimes averaged 17.8 points and 40.3% 3-point shooting, Grimes improved his stock at the combine. Givony considered Grimes one of the winners at the evaluation event, and slotted Grimes as the No. 28 pick, going to Philadelphia, in his latest mock draft.

Not only Agbaji, but also KU wing Jalen Wilson and Arizona State transfer Remy Martin, have until July 7 to decide whether to stay in the draft or return to college and play for the Jayhawks during the 2021-22 season.

Agbaji, a 6-foot-5 guard who would be a senior at KU next season if he were to return, averaged 14.1 points and shot 37.7% from 3-point range during his junior year, in which he started all 30 games for the Jayhawks.

Comments

Jeff Coffman 1 year, 3 months ago

Welcome back...I hope that is what this article means.

Benny Armstrong 1 year, 3 months ago

Unfortunately, I think that the days of players like Ochai coming back to improve their draft stock are over. The introduction of the two-way contract gives fringe players the opportunity to get into the league and play for teams to try and earn a roster spot and many see that as a better pathway to the pros than another year spent in college. That's not to say that he won't return, but that it seems to be increasingly unlikely over the last several draft classes. It used to be that if you were a lock for the lottery you had to leave early, then the thinking expanded that you'd leave if you were guaranteed a spot in the first round, and now it seems like players are more willing than ever to bet on themselves and fall back on the possibility of signing a two-way contract instead of returning to school. Perhaps with the introduction of NIL rights, players will see an equal value to staying to school if they are able to make comparable money, but that remains to be seen.

I know I'm not in this position, but I'm not sure that it's the right approach long term because I think teams use the G-League as a way to bring in a ton of talent and test it out by bringing players up for the minimum required games each season for rest or to tank for draft spots when their seasons are effectively over. More importantly, I don't think they try to develop players that are in the G-League roster because the salaries are so low that there's no significant loss to the franchise if a player doesn't pan out. They just move onto the next guy and the next after that.

Hopefully Ochai makes the decision that is best for him, and if it means coming back to KU, we'll be grateful and excited for a potentially great season.

Keith Gellar 1 year, 3 months ago

For the fanbase which look for opportunities to hang banners, surprised no one is shocked at seeing no jayhawks on there. When was the last time that happened?

Rodney Crain 1 year, 3 months ago

Do you watch the NBA? I did not see any players on our roster last season that deserve to be drafted.

Adam Bengtson 1 year, 3 months ago

I like how their is a mystery behind this. What does a two way contract doing for anyone? Dotson is a fill in when someone is hurt or inactive on roster. It will never be a full time gig for him. NBA doesn't have time to wait for 22-23 year old's (especially not drafted) to improve. Agbaji probably has less talent, more athleticism. That being said, he is 6'5" and cannot dribble. That alone is a brick wall. This is not a difficult decision for anyone.

Barry Weiss 1 year, 3 months ago

In general, fans of a team tend to rank their own players much higher than reality. I never thought any of our guys testing the water really had much of a chance this year. 60 spots is not very many when you consider all the teams in the NCAA as well as players from other countries. You really, really have to be a major super star to get drafted now days, for the most part.

Chad Smith 1 year, 3 months ago

Ochai just come back. You come back and it makes for the potential of a really special season like 2019-2020, except this time the tournament will more than likely be played and a championship is a realistic possibility. The roster is loaded with talent over the place.

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