We’re nearly one week through an incredible story that looks to only get better. Ochai Agbaji has two games under his belt since his redshirt was removed, averaging more than 20 minutes a game while showing a range of scoring ability, athleticism, defensive prowess, and without committing a single turnover.
It’s an immediate success story at a time when Kansas needed immediate help. And it could have a lasting impact on the season.
For a split second, I considered overreacting and adding Agbaji to the top three Most Valuable Jayhawks. I’m not going to. We need more of a sample size. Though if he continues on his pace (8-10 points per game, decent outside shooting, a couple rebounds, assists, and great defense), it will be hard to argue how valuable he’s been to a post-Doke resurgence.
There are some other questions needing to be wrestled. How much does Vick’s 3-point shooting and ability to score in spurts offset what is becoming a concerning turnover problem? How valuable is everything Marcus Garrett does, even if he struggles to shoot on offense?
Most Valuable Jayhawks
1 - Dedric Lawson (Last Week: 1)
Lawson seems to know whenever the team needs a big basket and takes his offense to another level, even stretching it out into individual seven-to-nine-point runs. Lawson was also extremely active on defense against Baylor, ending with five steals and five blocks, despite having a rare low-rebound game.
2 - Devon Dotson (Last Week: HM)
I’d still like to see more offensive assertiveness from Dotson, but it’s been established that the Jayhawks are better with Dotson on the court. His defense has been great, his rebounding is getting better, and he is the one you want to have the ball in his hands at the end of the game, as he is a clutch (and KU’s best) free-throw shooter. Dotson’s steal and block in the final 90 seconds of the TCU game encapsulates his value pretty well.
3 - Lagerald Vick (Last Week: 3)
Marcus Garrett nearly took this spot (I wish his offense was just a little stronger). The only thing keeping Vick here is that he’s by far the best 3-point shooter on a team that desperately struggles to shoot from outside. But the turnovers are a real problem. Vick has 21 turnovers in four Big 12 games, with some of these being at the end of the game when KU is trying to hold a lead. Hard to be valuable when you can’t be trusted to not turn it over late in a close game.
Honorable Mention: Marcus Garrett, Ochai Agbaji
Most Productive Jayhawks
1 - Dedric Lawson (Last Week: 1)
Plenty has been said about Lawson’s offense, for good reason. Fifteen points is easy work for Dedric. But while his defense hasn’t been great, Lawson has been good about creating turnovers, averaging 1.3 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.
2 - Devon Dotson (Last Week: 3)
Dotson now averages 11.1 points per game, 3.5 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.6 steals per game. However, in conference play, Dotson’s rebounds per game jumps to 4.5, and he’s averaging two steals a game. The offensive efficiency is still inconsistent, but he has gotten to the line 26 times in the last four games and has made 20 of those attempts.
3 - Lagerald Vick (Last Week: 2)
Vick is still second on the team in scoring at 14.8 points per game and is pulling down four rebounds per game (though there have now been multiple occasions when he hasn’t given extra effort to get an offensive rebound bouncing in front of him). But his turnovers per game is now above three, while he is only averaging two assists per game.
Honorable Mention: Quentin Grimes, Ochai Agbaji
Biggest Asset of the Week
1 - Agbaji’s Hustle
From the second Agbaji stepped on the court, it was clear that his mindset was to dive for every loose ball and fight for every rebound. That type of energy is infectious, and has led to steals and extended possessions.
2 - Lawson’s Hands
Dedric has gotten into the passing lanes and is racking up the steals the past week. Lawson has eight steals in the past two games, and now has 21 on the season.
3 - Garrett’s Defense
It has been a recent talking point of ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla how Garrett is able to guard nearly every position on the court. It’s not easy to quantify, but Garrett’s contribution has been integral to KU being a top-10 defense nationally.