2022 Final Four: Ochai Agbaji Wins Most Outstanding Player Title, But Was He the Most Deserving Kansas Star?

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Kansas All-American Ochai Agbaji was named the most outstanding player of the 2022 Final Four Monday night after the Jayhawks made the record-breaking comeback at the top of North Carolina in the national championship game by a score of 72-69. Agbaji had 33 points over the two games, including a near-perfect shooting performance against Villanova in the Final Four. Agbaji shot 6 of 8 against the Wildcats, including a 6-of-7 mark from behind the 3-point arc as he entered 21 points — by far his best shooting accuracy in more than a month.

Against North Carolina, Agbaji finished with 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting, but he led the Jayhawks by eight points in the first half when Kansas couldn’t buy a bucket. Additionally, one of his second-half plays was among the game’s greatest, when he put the ball in through contact and converted the one on the free-throw line to tie the game at 50. This was the first time Kansas had drawn since North Carolina built a lead that had swelled to as much as 16 points.

Agbaji’s decision was interesting. Despite not having a great game against Villanova, Remy Martin scored 11 points in the second half and hit several big shots in the national championship game. Then there’s David McCormack, who beat Villanova with 25 points and nine rebounds, then had 15 points and 10 rebounds against North Carolina, including Kansas’ last four points. And Jalen Wilson added 11 points, 12 rebounds and five assists against Villanova while tying McCormack in the finals for a team-high 15.

So why could there be fear over who won the award? The winning jersey would have immediately gone to the Allen Fieldhouse rafters, where he would have joined Mario Chalmers, the most outstanding player of the 2008 Final Four. As a consensus first-team All-American and Big 12 Player of the Year, Agbaji’s jersey already met the requirements for the anchor. 2022 Final Four: Ochai Agbaji Wins Most Outstanding Player Title, But Was He the Most Deserving Kansas Star?

Dais Johnston

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