Big 12 Basketball

Ochai Agbaji A Lottery Pick in Latest ESPN NBA Mock Draft

NCAA Basketball: Kansas at Michigan State

Ochai Agbaji has played his way into a lottery position in ESPN’s latest NBA Mock Draft, which includes four other Big 12 players in the two-round prediction.

Put together by Jonathan Givony and Mike Schmitz, it’s the latest indication that Agbaji’s decision to return to Kansas for one more season was the right one. Agbaji declared for last year’s draft, went through the scouting process and the NBA combine, but opted to return after he was projected to be a second-round pick.

In this latest mock, Agbaji is the No. 12 overall pick, going to the Portland Trail Blazers, who drafted Texas forward Greg Brown III last summer.


Givony and Schmitz noted Agbaji’s progression in their piece:

He’s since developed into a national player of the year candidate, establishing himself as arguably the best shooter in college basketball (62-for-132, 47 percent from 3) while leading Kansas to a top-5 ranking and 16-2 record.

Agbaji is coming off a career-high 37 points in the Jayhawks’ 94-91 double overtime win over Texas Tech on Monday. Kansas is preparing for Kentucky on Saturday as part of the Big 12-SEC Challenge.

Agbaji is the Big 12’s leading scorer and is one of the top 3-point shooters in the league. Recently, the Sporting News named Agbaji a midseason Second-Team All-American. Since then, he hit the game-winning shot in a road win over Kansas State on Saturday, and then put up his career high against the Red Raiders.

Agbaji wasn’t the only Big 12 player in the first round, either. Baylor’s Kendall Brown, just a freshman, was the No. 19 pick to the Denver Nuggets. Agbaji’s teammate, Christian Braun, slipped into the first round, too, going No. 29 to Golden State.

In the second round, two more Baylor players were projected. Freshman Jeremy Sochan went No. 33 to Cleveland and forward Matthew Mayer went No. 58 to Phoenix.

You can find Matthew Postins on Twitter @PostinsPostcard.

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