Analyzing Jared Butler and Ochai Agbaji in the Kansas-Baylor Game

January 19th, 2021

By Alan Lu

Yesterday, I took the time to watch Kansas and Baylor play in a tough, spirited Big 12 conference basketball game.  It was an opportunity to watch two top teams go at it, and Jared Butler played really well last night.  Butler scored 30 points, made seven threes, and dished out eight assists to help Baylor get the win, and he put forth a dominant performance in this game.  Here are my thoughts on how Butler and other various prospects fared, as well as where they may currently stack up as prospects for the NBA.

Baylor’s 6-3 junior point guard, Jared Butler was fantastic in his team’s win over Kansas, as he scored 30 points on 10-of-14 shooting, made 7 three-pointers, and he also dished out 8 assists in this game.
(Photo:
Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune-Herald, via Associated Press, via The New York Times)

Jared Butler had an excellent showing to lead his team to a win over Kansas.  He especially excelled as a sharpshooter and as a scorer, and he did a terrific job of making shots and plays to help his team get the victory. Butler did a terrific job of knocking down threes to provide floor spacing for his team on offense.  He excelled at making pull-up threes from beyond the arc, and he was quite adept at dribbling off of screens at making step-back threes in this game.  He has a quick release that easily enables him to get his shot off, and he also has a lot of range on his shot.  He struggled a little more to make mid-range shots off the dribble, but Butler was tremendous at making three-pointers against Kansas.

Plus, he also did a very good job of scoring off the dribble.  Butler would use pump fakes to score on strong drives to the basket, and he also managed to score on an acrobatic, switch of hands layup once.  What was especially impressive was how effortlessly he was able to make long-range shots off the dribble, as he showed off very good footwork, range, and shooting ability to consistently knock down his outside shots.

Also, Butler displayed solid playmaking skills in this game.  He is an unselfish player that can throw solid passes off the dribble, and he would get the ball to his teammates in a variety of ways to set up scores for them.  He was able to throw a no-look pass to set up a score for a teammate on the break, and he also threw a lob pass to a cutter to help a teammate score on an alley-oop dunk.  However, he also committed his fair share of turnovers in the second half, as he would throw inaccurate passes that would go astray.  Sometimes, he would try to fit balls into tight windows and would miss his mark.  He also had a ball poked away from him another time. Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Butler was able to collect a defensive board against Kansas.

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  Butler was able to run in to intercept a pass quickly to get a steal, and he does a good job of playing passes to force turnovers and get deflections.  He also was active defensively, and would apply considerable ball pressure.  On the downside, sometimes he would be too aggressive on the defensive end, which would lead him to foul opposing ball handlers.  Another time, he bit wildly on a pump fake as he was too aggressive on a close out, which led him to allow an opponent to score on an open three-point shot.  There was also one play where he was late to rotate on a switch, as his team allowed an opponent to score on a corner three another time.

In general, Jared Butler played really well in this game, and he put forth a stellar performance right from the get-go.  He knocked down shots early and often, and made some really nifty step-back threes seamlessly against Kansas.  He is a very skilled sharpshooter that can put up points in a hurry, and he also can effectively run the point.  He is a solid prospect whose strong offensive skills would make him a good candidate to be picked in the lottery, and he is a very skilled playmaker that could end up being a solid starter similar to Miami Heat’s current point guard, Goran Dragić in the NBA.

Kansas’ junior guard, Ochai Agbaji played well in his team’s loss to Baylor, as he scored 16 points and made 4 three-pointers throughout this contest.
(Photo:
Rod Aydelotte/Waco Tribune Herald via AP, via KU Sports)

Kansas’ 6-5 junior swingman, Ochai Agbaji also had a solid showing in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He showed off versatile scoring skills, and he played well on both ends of the court. Agbaji did a very good job of knocking down jumpers to space the floor for his team on offense.  He especially excelled at making threes in this game.  He would run off the ball to make quick, spot-up threes, and he showed a penchant for making open, spot-up threes off the catch.  He did pull up to take a mid-range shot, but missed that time.

He also can score on hustle plays.  Agbaji is a very athletic player that can really get out to score in transition.  He ran the floor to score on a high-flying breakaway dunk, and he also drew free throws on a dunk attempt off of a drive in transition another time.  He showed a knack for drawing free throws off of cuts and in transition, but he would struggle to score on tough shots off of cuts, especially when he wouldn’t get foul calls. On the downside, he didn’t really look to score off the dribble very much, and he wasn’t nearly as effective at scoring when he would look to do so when his team would operate in a half-court offense.

Also, Agbaji looked to showcase fairly average playmaking skills.  On one good play, he was able to find an open teammate ahead on the break to notch an assist.  He also can handle the ball, especially in the open court.  However, sometimes he would throw careless, hasty passes that would go astray.  He threw one pass that got intercepted.  Another time, a defender crowded him when he had the ball, and he threw an inaccurate pass that sailed out of bounds. Though he didn’t grab many rebounds in this game, Agbaji was able to collect a board on each end of the floor.

He also played satisfactory defense.  Agbaji did a good job of reading the opponents’ eyes and intercepting crosscourt passes quickly to get steals.  He also managed to poke a ball away to nearly get another.  He also was able to contest a mid-range shot to force a miss.  Also, he was able to apply considerable ball pressure when defending an opposing ball handler, as his length and quickness indirectly forced his opponent to commit an over and back violation.  However, sometimes he can be too aggressive on the defensive end.   He would bite on pump fakes, which would lead him to be out of position, as he would then commit fouls and allow scores off the dribble.  He also fouled an opposing ball handler another time, as he had tripped his opponent.

In summary, Ochai Agbaji played well, as he scored 16 points, made 4 threes, and he also had 2 steals, 2 rebounds, and 1 assist in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He is an athletic, high-motor swingman that made solid plays on both ends of the floor.  He would likely be a solid pick for an NBA team in the mid to late first round portion of the 2021 draft, and he could end up thriving as a role player in the NBA.

Other Notes:

Kansas’ 6-6 sophomore swingman, Christian Braun excelled as a shooter and scorer in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He would often make quick, spot-up threes off the catch, and he also made a couple of them from way out.  He also used a side step and a pump fake to make a three later on, and he showed a tremendous ability to knock down outside shots in this game.

He didn’t look to score inside the arc very often, but he did miss on a runner off of a drive in transition once.  Also, Braun was able to find the open man to get an assist, and he also didn’t turn the ball over once.  Plus, he was able to collect his fair share of boards, as he was able to get rebounds on both ends of the court. 

Defensively, he looked to be about average.  Braun was able to make one good play, as he was able to rip a ball away from an opponent off of a drive to nearly get a steal, as his effort helped force a shot clock violation.  However, he struggled to defend as an on-ball defender though, and he would sometimes get beat off the dribble to allow scores.

Overall, Christian Braun played well, as he was able to score 17 points, and he also made 5 threes in his team’s loss to Baylor.  He may be an underrated player that has flown under the radar as a draft prospect, and he can certainly shoot the basketball.  He will need to improve his defense, but his ability to shoot and score the basketball could enable him to carve out a role as a shooting specialist in the NBA whenever he decides to declare to enter the NBA draft.

Kansas’ 6-5 senior guard, Marcus Garrett had a decent showing in his team’s loss to Baylor.  Sure, neither he nor Kansas could stop Jared Butler, but it’s hard to fault Garrett specifically for that because Butler was absolutely unstoppable, as he was terrific in this game, especially from beyond the arc.  For Garrett, he excelled as a scorer and facilitator on offense, and he was able to dish out 8 assists in this game.

Garrett did an adequate job of scoring off the dribble.  He can use either hand to finish plays around the basket, and he also would go hard to the hoop to draw fouls upon his defenders to get to the free throw line.  However, he did throw up several shots that led to ugly misses, as he can struggle to score in traffic when he doesn’t get foul calls.  He missed once on a tough, fall-away layup, and he also air-balled on a floater another time.  He also had his shot blocked on a drive late in this game. He also managed to score on a quick backdoor cut to the hoop from the baseline.  On the downside, he didn’t take many shots, and he didn’t look to take jumpers from outside of the paint area in this game.

Also, he displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  Garrett is an unselfish player that can capably run the point and also play off the ball.  He can throw solid interior passes to find teammates on the move, as he would get the ball to roll men to set up scores for his teammates.  He has solid court vision, and he can make plays off the dribble to get his teammates the basketball.  However, sometimes he would go too fast, as he would occasionally throw hasty passes that would get intercepted.  He also committed a couple of ball-handling turnovers due to carelessness.

He also was able to leap up to get several defensive rebounds to help get his fair share of boards in this game.  Garrett also played adequate defense.  He flew in to block a shot around the basket due to possessing solid athleticism, length, and timing.  However, he would sometimes struggle to stay in front of quicker players, which would lead him to commit fouls and allow scores.

Overall, Marcus Garrett is a tall, athletic playmaker that can capably run the team, and he also can guard either backcourt position.  He will need to be a more consistent shooter and scorer in games, and he will need to take better care of the basketball.  Right now, he is a borderline second round candidate, but he could project to be a rotation-level player in the NBA if he can continue to improve his overall game.

Baylor’s senior guard, MaCio Teague had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Kansas.  He struggled to make shots efficiently, but he also played solid defense in this game. Teague was able to make an open corner three, but he struggled to consistently score on threes from beyond the arc.  He used a pump fake to score on a crafty, pull-up mid-range shot using a step-through move, and he also used a pump fake to draw a foul to get to the free throw line after hoisting up another mid-range shot.  However, he also struggled to make mid-range shots on a consistent basis.  Teague also was able to use a pump fake to score on an aggressive drive to the hoop while getting an extra free throw, as his strong ability to utilize pump fakes can enable him to get open driving lanes and frequently get to the foul line.

He displayed average at best playmaking skills.  Teague was able to drive to the hoop to throw a no-look, drop-off pass to a teammate set up a score around the basket.  However, he would sometimes commit ball-handling turnovers due to playing too fast and out of control, as he would rush his moves on occasion.  He also dropped a catchable pass out of bounds that led to a team turnover another time. Though he didn’t grab many rebounds, Teague was able to get a defensive board, and he also saved a ball to help his team get an offensive rebound on a separate possession.

Also, Teague played good defense.  He would jump passes and pounce upon loose balls to get steals, and he excelled at making plays opportunistically to help his team force turnovers.  He also was able to get his opponent to take a tough angle shot, as he then successfully contested a shot off of a drive to force a miss.

Overall, MaCio Teague didn’t have his best game, but he played a strong defensive game.  He struggled to consistently make shots, and he didn’t get many assists, but he excelled at forcing turnovers and getting stops defensively.  Teague may be a borderline second round candidate right now, and he will likely need to show teams that he can effectively run the point at the next level, but his ability to shoot and defend could enable him to make it to the NBA either next season or sometime down the road.

Baylor’s 6-2 junior guard, Davion Mitchell had his ups and downs in his team’s win over Kansas.  Mitchell shot the ball well, and also defended fairly well, but he committed a lot of turnovers in this game, especially down the stretch in the second half.

Mitchell excelled at knocking down jumpers, especially from beyond the arc.  He used a ball fake to make an open three, and he also made another open three off the catch another time.  He struggled more to score off the dribble, but he didn’t take many shots in this game, and he did his best work in this game as a spot-up shooter from downtown.

However, he was quite turnover prone on offense.  For the positives, he is an unselfish player that can pass and handle the basketball, and he is a good ball handler that can use swift dribble moves to create separation between himself and his defender.  He also will look to consistently find the open man to set up scoring opportunities for his teammates.   However, he tended to commit ball-handling turnovers, as sometimes he would be careless, other times he would have trouble handling ball pressure.  He also threw a couple of passes that were intercepted, and he also threw a pass that a teammate dropped out of bounds another time.

Mitchell didn’t grab any rebounds in this game.  He also played fairly good defense.  He did a good job of getting steals, and he would run in to pounce upon loose balls to get them.  He also managed to contest a three to force a miss.  However, there was one play where he had fallen down and was not able to pick up a player midway, which led his team to allow a three-point basket.  He also was called for a loose ball foul another time due to over-aggressiveness.

Overall, Davion Mitchell had some good and bad moments in this game.  He was efficient as a scorer within the limited amount of shots he hoisted up, and he also showed off some handles.  However, he also was very turnover prone on offense, especially in the second half.  He will need to improve his decision-making skills, but his athleticism and offensive skills may make him a borderline second round candidate for the 2021 draft.

Baylor’s 6-5 redshirt senior forward, Mark Vital had a decent showing in his team’s win over Kansas. Aside from a couple of mesmerizing dunks, he didn’t seem to make too much of an impact offensively, but he rebounded the ball very well, and he was able to make some solid hustle plays on both ends of the court.

Though he didn’t actually take many shots or score efficiently, he did manage to catch a couple of lobs off of backdoor cuts to score on high-flying, alley-oop dunks.  Sometimes he would miss shots around the basket, as he would be thrown slightly inaccurate passes on the way up, but Vital is a very athletic, high-motor player that can certainly score on off-ball motion plays. He also rebounded the ball very well, and he led all players with 10 rebounds in this game.

Vital played satisfactory defense in addition.  He hustled back to make an impressive chase down block on a drive in transition off the glass due to possessing very good athleticism, timing, and instincts.  He also ripped a ball away from an opponent off of a drive to nearly get a steal.  He also was able to leap up to deflect a pass out of bounds.  He also contested a shot in the post to force a miss another time.  Also, he showed good footwork when guarding an opponent out on the perimeter, and his length and athleticism bothered his opponent to the point that his opponent then threw a pass that led to an over and back violation.   On the downside, Vital can be too aggressive, which can lead him to commit touch fouls, and he also struggled to defend opponents off the dribble on occasion.

Overall, Mark Vital is a very athletic, energetic player that excelled at making hustle plays to help his team in this game.  He scored on a couple of scintillating, alley-oop dunks, and he also generally rebounded and defended well.  He will need to improve his outside shot, but his athleticism, motor, and defensive skills could allow him to compete for a roster spot in the NBA next season.

Kansas’ 6-8 freshman forward, Jalen Wilson put forth a lackluster performance overall in his team’s loss to Baylor. He didn’t play well for most of this game, but he was able to make some solid plays down the stretch.  He missed on all of his three-point shots, but he was able to get a couple of scores on aggressive drives late in this match.  He struggled to score as he would be too passive, and other times, he would take tough, off-balanced shots that would lead to misses. 

He did show a promising ability to score off the dribble.  In this game, he was able to score on a runner, and he also drove in to score on a thunderous dunk late in this game, but by then, it was too little, too late for his team.

He also displayed satisfactory playmaking skills.  Wilson would tend to throw crisp, accurate interior passes, as he would routinely find cutters, and he also can throw entry passes to set up scores for his teammates.  He also showed the ability to make passes off the dribble.  However, he can sometimes be inaccurate on his passes, and he also threw one pass that got intercepted by a defender.

Also, Wilson rebounded the ball well.  He would chase down balls to get plenty of boards for his team.  Defensively, he looked to be fairly average.  Wilson was able to contest a corner three to force a miss.  He also can apply heavy ball pressure, as he showed solid footwork to force his opponent to pass the ball another time.  Sometimes though, he would sag too far off of shooters, which would allow them to score on three-point shots, and he also tried to flop when guarding a shooter once, to no avail.  On a separate play, he was caught ball watching, and allowed an opponent to score on an alley-oop dunk off of a cut.

Overall, Wilson made a couple of solid plays late in this game against Baylor, but in general, his play was disappointing throughout this contest.  He didn’t take nearly enough shots, nor make many of them, and he did not make a single three-point shot.  He will need to improve his outside shot and be a more assertive player on offense.  He is an athletic, skilled swingman that has had a solid freshman season so far.  While his performance in this game was disappointing, he may be a skilled enough player to warrant a second round selection as a 3 and D type of role player in the NBA.

Baylor’s 6-10 junior center, Flo Thamba had a solid showing, as he especially played well early on.  He tended to score off of put backs after grabbing offensive rebounds, and he also was able to make an open mid-range shot.  He was very active at crashing the glass to get offensive rebounds.  Defensively, he was active as an interior defender, as he contested a shot off of a cut to force a miss and drew a charge, but he also was foul prone when defending in the paint.

Baylor’s 6-8 sophomore big man, Jonathan Tchamwa Tchatchoua excelled as an interior player for his team.  He scored on a powerful jump hook in the post, and he also scored on a strong drive to the hoop.  He also ran in to score on a tip-in after grabbing an offensive board.

He was able to set a good screen to help a shooter get a score, but he also would set moving screens that would lead him to commit offensive fouls and turnovers.  He also defended well, as he blocked a shot off of a drive, and he would contest shots in the paint to force misses.

Kansas’ 6-8 redshirt senior big man, Mitch Lightfoot generally excelled at scoring on powerful dunks off of rolls and off-ball motion plays.  He also managed to score on a turnaround jump hook, but he struggled more to score when he would take shots when he would be further away from the basket.

He also set a good screen to help a teammate get a driving lane to score.  Plus, he was active on the glass, as he would especially help his team get offensive rebounds, but he only managed to get one defensive board in this game.  Defensively though, he struggled to defend in the post or on pick and rolls, which would lead his team to allow scores.

Overall, Thamba, Tchamwa Tchatchoua, and Lightfoot played fairly well, and they are athletic big men that excelled at making energetic, hustle plays to help their teams in this game.  They will need to expand upon their skill set offensively and be more disciplined defensively to stay away from foul trouble, but their skill set potentially could enable them to compete for a backend roster spot in the NBA sometime down the road.  If not, they could still carve out a lengthy career in the G-League and/or overseas when their collegiate career ends.

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