The objective was multifaceted for Oak Park High wing Ochai Agbaji as he entered his senior season. There was a desire to return Oak Park to prominence in Kansas City and make the Northmen a team people respected. But on a more personal level, Agbaji wanted to land major Division I scholarship, or at least generate the interest that preceded it.
He accomplished both more quickly — and perhaps more significantly — than he anticipated.
Agbaji led Oak Park to a 23-3 season that included a share of the Suburban White Conference title and a William Jewell tournament championship. In the midst of that run, he landed the college scholarship he long coveted, committing to Kansas in February.
He completes his decorated season as The Star’s All-Metro boys basketball player of the year.
“It was all something that was definitely new for everyone — myself, my family and even my coaches,” Agbaji said of the combination of Oak Park’s success and the recruitment hovering over his senior year. “It was just a new feeling that put a lot of pressure on me night in, night out. But I was able to handle it.”
Agbaji averaged 27.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game, thwarting double teams as the focal point of Oak Park’s offense. He played in the post, on the wing and with the ball in his hands at the point.
Colleges took notice. Finally. In early January, Agbaji did not have a single offer from a Power 5 conference basketball program. But within the span of a few days, he racked up several.
He opted for Kansas, revealing his decision with a ceremony in front of the Oak Park student body in February.
“It was definitely stressful, because as more schools came on, the more stressed it made me,” Agbaji said. “But a lot of people told me to just enjoy the process, which is what I tried to do. It was definitely a good season.”
2017-18 All-Metro Boys Basketball
Ochai Agbaji, Oak Park, senior.
Agbaji didn’t possess a single offer from a Power 5 conference when the season began, but his production attracted the interest of several programs, and he committed to Kansas. He averaged 27.6 points and 8.6 rebounds per game.
Christian Bishop, Lee’s Summit West, senior.
A four-star player on recruiting websites, Bishop was the top scorer and rebounder for a Lee’s Summit West team that finished 22-5. He posted 16 points and 10 rebounds per game. He has signed with Creighton.
Damien Daniels, Hogan Prep, senior.
Daniels plays much larger than his 5-7 frame. He averaged 21.8 points on 51 percent shooting and was the top producer on Hogan Prep’s Missouri Class 3 state-championship team. He will attend Abilene Christian.
Jalen Lewis, Liberty, senior.
The most lethal shooter in the area, Lewis finished his career as the best career and single-season scorer in school history. He also broke the program mark for three pointers in a season (102), including 10 in one game. He averaged 19.6 points per game and has committed to Washburn.
Jeremiah Robinson-Earl, Bishop Miege, junior.
In leading Bishop Miege to another Kansas Class 4A Division I state championship, Robinson-Earl posted 21.9 points and 8.1 rebounds per contest and shot 68 percent from the field. A 6-9 forward, he is ranked as the 15th-best recruit in the junior class.
Ronnie Bell, Park Hill, senior; Cooper Kaifes, Mill Valley, senior; Jordan Lathon, Grandview, senior; Garrett Luinstra, Lawrence Free State, senior; Joseph Pleasant, Blue Valley Northwest, senior.