JayhawkSlant - Ochai Agbaji declares for the 2021 NBA Draft
{{ timeAgo('2021-04-08 17:20:31 -0500') }} basketball Edit

Ochai Agbaji declares for the 2021 NBA Draft

For the second time today, Kansas has seen a player remove himself from the roster. This time around, the possibility exists for a return.

Early on Thursday evening, Ochai Agbaji, the 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard from Kansas City, Mo., declared for the 2021 NBA Draft. This past season, Agbaji averaged 14.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game.

Agbaji, who will retain NCAA eligibility while testing the draft waters, shot 42 percent from the field, 37.7 percent from behind the arc, and 68.9 percent from the free-throw line. Per NCAA rules, student-athletes can participate in the NBA draft process if withdrawn by Monday, July 19.

“First, I would like to thank God for blessing me and giving me the opportunity to wake up every day and play the game I love. Thank you to my family for their love and constant support since day one,” Agbaji said in a statement on Thursday. “By coming to KU, I gained an extended family that I will forever appreciate. From my teammates to my coaches, support staff, and the fans, you are simply the best!

“Thank you to Coach Self and the entire coaching staff for trusting me and pushing me each and every day,” he added. “Not only have I become a better player but an even better man. I will be keeping my NCAA eligibility throughout this process and look forward to hearing from NBA professionals on ways I can improve my game. This is a great opportunity as I work towards my goal of being a professional basketball player.

As a junior, Agbaji was an All-Big 12 Honorable Mention selection for the second-straight season.

Agbaji, in 83 games, averaged 11.1 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game. Offensively, he shot 42.8 percent from the field, 35.2 percent from behind the arc, and dished out 1.7 assists per game.

“Ochai and I talked a lot about his basketball future over the past couple of weeks so he could determine what was best for he and his family moving forward,” said head coach Bill Self. “After thinking that through, he made the decision to enter the NBA Draft. He clearly has a skill set that translates well to the professional game, and the NBA draft process will be a great opportunity for him to be evaluated. He will sign with an agent but will continue to follow the guidelines set by the NCAA and NBA to protect his collegiate eligibility.

“Och will be able to gain great insight on what areas he needs to work on which could improve his draft stock,” he added. “I know that will be beneficial for him this year before he decides whether he should come back or remain in the NBA Draft process.”

Earlier in the day, freshman guard Latrell Jossell threw his name into the transfer portal and will look for a new school to call home. Agbaji, however, has the opportunity to return to Kansas but must decide by Monday, July 19.