KU Basketball After the Championship

Abby Wallace, Managing Editor

KU fans are excited for this time of the year because the start of basketball season has come and the Jayhawks are off to an impressive start. Fans have high hopes for this season and hopefully, another championship lies ahead.

Last season, the team defeated Duke in the championship game on April 4. The team was led to victory by starters Christian Braun and Ochai Agbaji. 

Agbaji averaged 13.7 points per game in the NCAA Tournament last season. He was the unanimous Big 12 Player of the Year and four-time Big 12 Player of the Week as well last year. He ended eighth on the KU single-season scoring list with 732 points, sixth in 3FGs made (103) and second in minutes played (1,368) all in his senior year. Agbaji was drafted in round one and picked number 14 by the Cleveland Cavaliers. He now plays for Utah Jazz as a small forward.

Braun ended his career at KU as a junior and was drafted by the Denver Nuggets in round one and picked number 21. He averaged 11.2 ppg and 7.3 rpg in the NCAA Tournament last season. He was seventh in the Big 12 with 14.1 ppg, second in field goal percentage (49.5%), fifth in rebounds (6.5), and 14th in assists (2.8) last year. He was also the Big 12 Player of the Week on Dec. 6, 2021. 

Both Braun and Agbaji played a significant role in the team’s success last season. However, without both of them this season, it allows newer players to impress fans like Braun and Agbaji. 

Red Shirt junior Jalen Wilson is averaging 21.7 ppg after the first few games. The starting forward for KU is 6’8” and has entered the last two NBA drafts, but returned to KU both times. He led Kansas in rebounding last season, he was the Big 12 Player of the Week on Feb. 14, and the Big 12 Newcomer of the Week on Feb. 15, 2021. After three games he has already been a major team leader. Without the helpful talent from Braun and Agbaji, Wilson is the one to stop by other teams this season. He has made it known that he will be a dominant player on the court alongside freshman Gradey Dick.

Dick was the 2022 Gatorade Player of the Year, becoming only the second KU player to earn the distinction after Andrew Wiggins in 2013. He is already second in leading points per game averaging about 16.3 after the first few games. Even though he is only a freshman, Dick is 6.8” and is becoming a major part of the team right behind Wilson.

This season will be exciting for fans to watch how Wilson, Dick, and other players continue to impress fans. They have large shoes to fill without Braun and Agbaji. Fans are waiting to see how far they get this season and if they could come back with another championship title.