“We always had an answer,” Brown said.
It was hard for Villanova to imagine a worse start.
Kansas scored the first 10 points, Villanova turned the ball on four straight possessions, and Agbaji was on fire, making his first four shots, all three-pointers. When Agbaji broke through Villanova’s defenses and dunked McCormack with a slam, Kansas extended their lead to 26-11 just over 10 minutes into the game, prompting a timeout for Villanova.
“The reason they were efficient inside with their size was because they forced us to spread out early when Agbaji scored 3rd and we were unable to come out and help on the stand,” said coach Jay Wright, adding, that it was not easy to keep Agbaji under control. a priority. “This could be a problem for us.”
It was hard to foresee Agbaji playing such a central role when he arrived in Lawrence five years ago. He was one of the best players in Kansas City and an A student, but he hadn’t even started playing for his amateur Athletic Union team, the MoKan Elite, and so he came to Lawrence as someone the coaches hoped would make a good teammate and will increase. into a role player.
Instead, he morphed into something much bigger—an athletic wing with a deadly jump shot who was the Big 12 Player of the Year, the most competitive conference in the country over the last few seasons, and a first-team player. America.
“Obviously my role has changed over the years,” Agbaji said. “I just came in as a member, the bench guy, and then I earned my starting role. As the years went by, my result became more needed by the teams, and then this year, obviously, just to step up and be that person.”
Agbaji made just 2 of his first 15 3 points in the tournament before rebuilding his shooting skills in the Midwest Regional Final against Miami. Even as he struggled, his confidence didn’t waver and he found other ways to contribute.