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To Help Save The Season Kansas Pulled The Redshirt Off Ochai Agbaji (Another Unbelievable Hoops Name) And Ran An Alley-Oop For Him On His Very First Play Right In Front Of His Mom

[The Athletic] - Agbaji was improving faster than he ever could have anticipated when Self made the decision to redshirt him. And without Azubuike, he thought he needed someone who could make plays above the rim. And, during the first media timeout on Wednesday with Agbaji set to check in, Self diagrammed the play onto the white board. Agbaji would set a ball screen for Devon Dotson, circle around Dedric Lawson and then fly.

“I’m like, let me get this dunk,” Agbaji remembers thinking, “and then it’ll get me going.”

Now, this is how you do it. We seem to get awesome stories every few nights in the basketball world, but this is another one. Planning on redshirting for the entire year, Kansas and Bill Self switched the thought process on Ochai Agbaji and pulled the redshirt with Udoka Azubuike being out for the year.

The reason for that is Kansas is adjusting how they are playing. Instead of playing Dedric Lawson at the 4 and Udoka at the 5, they are playing Lawson at the 5 and 4 wings/guards around him more. It’s how they’ve looked the last few years and it’s really the best way for them to play in order to get the most out of Lawson – their best player. The one way it works the best is with wings that can guard multiple positions, play fast and finish plays.

That’s what Agbaji brings. He was a late-bloomer in high school and ranked the 133rd player in the country. There was no expectations for him to contribute on the team this year before they even planned on redshirting him.

What an awesome way to introduce yourself, huh? And of course his mom was in attendance to see it all go down. Her and Ochai’s dad were completely cool with the redshirt and when Self called them about pulling the redshirt, simply said you’re the professional, do whatever you think is right.

So naturally the first play call with him in the game was him to get an easy bucket. Self drew up the play right before he checked in and then it happened. You can see the reaction too from his mom and sister (who plays volleyball at Texas). These sort of stories always seem to work out.