The NBA draft just happened recently. The draft is where we get to see the future of the NBA. This year had many great prospects. The top players include Paolo Banchero, Chet Holmgren, and Jabari Smith. I do think these players will get to shine, but I think there are two players that aren’t really talked about as much as they should be.One ended up being a late lottery pick, and the other was a middle first rounder. I am excited to see what these players will be able to do. They both come from the same college, these players are Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun. I may be a little biased because I am a Kansas basketball fan but I really do see them as future stars. I will explain why I think this. But first, let’s get some history lessons in.
The Kansas Jayhawks basketball team is one of the best. They are the winningest team in college basketball history as of now. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, founded the University of Kansas basketball program. They have six total national championships, one of which happened this year against North Carolina. Players that came from here include Wilt Chamberlain, Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, DeVonte Graham, the Morris twins, Kelly Oubre Jr, and more. Kansas basketball is definitely an exciting program. As a fan of them, I have watched lots of KU basketball. My favorite Kansas player to watch was DeVonte Graham and I just knew he was going to be good and so far, I think it is safe to say I was right. He isn’t a superstar but has proven to be a solid role player. But Ochai caught my eye. He can do it all. He can shoot, drive, bully in the paint, rebound, defend, and much more. He was also such an exciting player to watch. I fell in love. But then Braun was pointed out to me by a fellow KU fan. And I started to watch him more. He also seems like another great all-around player. But I want to back it up. In 2020, the March Madness tournament was canceled due to COVID. The team sitting in the #1 spot at the time was none other than the Jayhawks. That was their chance to win another one but it was ruined. The next year, they went into the tournament as a #3 seed but lost in the second round. Coming into the next season, they looked pretty scary. They had amazing games and bad games. I realized that this team had a chance. And I never doubted them in March Madness. They made it to the Elite Eight. They faced Miami. They were not playing well and ended up down at halftime. But they came out and destroyed the second half. I then knew this was their year. They killed Villanova. They faced North Carolina and I wasn’t that worried, but I should have been.
Kansas came out and put up points right away. Ochai hit a three to start the game. They were not messing around. They went 7-0. At one point, it was tied 22-22. Within a blink of an eye, North Carolina was up 38-22. 16 points. 16-0 run. The game looked over. At halftime, the Tarheels were up by 15, 40-25. North Carolina won. But I still had faith, I watched Kansas overcome these kinds of things. I wasn’t ready to give up on them just yet. And KU was not ready either. They just kept racking up points and defensive stops. And at one point, Kansas was up 6-50. Amazing comeback but the game was not over. North Carolina was up 69-68. Kansas quickly scored 4 points. 72-69, North Carolina could not hit a three and choked the national championship. But why is all of this important? Well, this would not have been possible if it wasn’t for Ochai and Braun. During the regular season, Ochai dominated but when he had a bad game, Braun was there to step up. It was almost always either Ochai or Braun having the best game, if not, both. They are both all around amazing players. With the 14th pick, the Cavs selected Ochai. And with the 21st pick, the Nuggets picked up Braun.
I think Ochai can be a solid backup for Cleveland. They already have a very talented young team and he just improves that. Maybe he can even work his way up to be a starter by his second year. Right now, he is listed as a third string at shooting guard and small forward. But I think that he can change that quickly by proving his worth. He still has a lot of time to train and become better. On the other hand, I think Braun is a really good fit with Denver. I actually think he can become like another Jamal Murray but be even better. Now I know that sounds crazy right now. But I compared their game and it is pretty close. The difference is that I think Braun can be more of a bully in the paint and drive more. He is more of a physical player and isn’t scared of getting to the rim. These players have so much potential. Which players do you think are slept on? Let me know in the comments!
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