Height/Weight: 6’5, 210 lbs
Ochai Agbaji is an explosive athlete who is one of the best on ball defenders in college basketball. His athletic ability is simply off the charts, as Agbaji possesses excellent quickness, leaping ability, and explosiveness. His quickness allows for him to stay in front of his opponent and beat him to his spot on the drive. Agbaji is very strong as well, which aids him in cutting off quick guards and prevents him from getting pushed around in the post.
The combination of size, athleticism, and skill defensively make him very versatile on that end of the floor, a package that NBA teams absolutely love. He can pretty much guard every position in college, and will likely spend time guarding the one through four positions at the next level. Defensive versatility like that is rare, and a skill that is highly valued by NBA front offices.
On the offensive end, Ochai Agbaji can knock down shots from deep and has a really smooth shooting stroke. While his percentage isn’t great, his excellent form and deep range are positive signs that he can be a quality shooter at the next level if he puts in the work.
One of the best parts of Ochai Agbaji’s game is his ability to score in transition. He’s great at running the floor, and finishes strong at the rim. He’s like a freight train when he gets a head of steam and attacks the hoop. Furthermore, he’s also really good at knowing when to euro step and avoid a charge when the defender has good position. It’s just not in transition as he is a really good finisher in the half-court as well, getting a lot of buckets from cutting to the basket when his teammates penetrate or his defender is caught ball-watching. Being a good cutter is a skill that is often overlooked by fans, but it’s an important skill that coaches and scouts love to see in a player.
Another thing to love about Agbaji’s game is his motor and energy. He plays really hard on both ends of the floor, and you’ll never have to worry about his effort on any given night. The ability to always give max effort night in and night out is something you can’t teach and not every player possesses, and it can be contagious and help elevate the effort of teammates.
The main weaknesses for Ochai Agbaji are on the offensive side of the ball, where he has a long ways to go in order to be a legitimate threat at that end of the floor as a pro. His role in the NBA will most likely be as a spot up wing, so shooting the ball well from deep is a necessity. As I mentioned above, he does have range and a nice stroke, but he can be very inconsistent and his percentages in college aren’t anything special. His shooting and scoring numbers have dipped significantly in conference play this year, and that is a big concern. If he decides to go through the draft process after this season, his performance in shooting drills and live action at team and combine workouts will be heavily scrutinized.
Thanks to Agbaji’s frame and athletic ability, he has the potential to be a really good slasher. The problem for Ochai is he isn’t a very good ball handler and struggles to get to the rim on his own. He has shown the ability to finish well at the rim, but he typically only gets those looks in transition or off passes from teammates like Devon Dotson in the half court. Agbaji needs to add some go-to moves to his repertoire to be able to take defenders off the dribble, and that starts with improving his handle.
Another thing that he struggles with is his shot selection. Sometimes he gets stuck trying to make a play and forces up shots when he isn’t open. This seems to happen more when he is having a bad game game offensively and is likely out of frustration, but it’s a bad habit that he needs to shake.
Agbaji can tend to be over-aggressive on defense and find himself in foul trouble. He struggled with this a lot more as a freshman and, to his credit, has improved upon that during his sophomore year. However, foul trouble has still been an issue for him at times and hurts his team because they need him on the court as much as possible to guard the opposition’s best wing.
Ochai Agbaji caught the attention of the NBA draft world during his freshman campaign because of his elite athleticism and obvious potential, which led to him appearing in plenty of mock drafts this preseason. However, Agbaji hasn’t improved as much on the offensive end as many people projected, so his stock has fallen during the season.
I think it would benefit Agbaji to come to school next year, as another off-season of hard work on his shooting and all-around offensive game could pay huge dividends and put him in a good spot for the 2021 NBA Draft. However, if he does decide to declare and stay in the draft after this season, his defense and potential will get him a lot of serious looks from teams.
As of now, he’d probably be a late second round pick or an undrafted free agent and would likely ink a two-way contract, which would give him the opportunity to develop and get valuable playing time and experience in the G-League.