Former Kansas guard Ochai Agbaji scored four points on 2-of-3 shooting while playing nine minutes in a reserve role during the Utah Jazz’s 114-82 loss to the Toronto Raptors Sunday night. It was Agbaji’s NBA exhibition season debut in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Agbaji, a 6-foot-5 rookie from Kansas City, also grabbed two rebounds while playing the final nine minutes. He missed his only three-point shot attempt.
Agbaji was one of 10 Jazz newcomers to play in the game. In all, the Jazz, who are in a rebuilding mode, used 15 players.
Former KU center Udoka Azubuike, who is beginning his third year in the NBA, all with the Jazz, did not play. He had right ankle surgery in late March to repair tears of multiple ankle and foot ligaments. The former first-round pick of the Jazz (in 2020 Draft) has not yet been cleared for 5-on-5 basketball.
Deseret News reporter Sarah Todd reported that Agbaji played well during the team’s three practices leading to the exhibition opener.
“Kelly Olynyk (veteran forward) mentioned how surprised he was at Agbaji’s athleticism and strength after the Jazz’s first official practice together,” Todd wrote.
Agbaji, who was selected by Cleveland with the 14th pick in the 2022 NBA Drat, recently was traded from Cleveland to Utah. He said he’s grateful to be on the same team as his college roommate Azubuike.
Azubuike is from Nigeria as is Agbaji’s father, Olofu.
“We connected in that way and my dad would cook for him all the time and bring him Nigerian meals,” Agbaji told the Deseret News. “When I got traded here, I sent him a text. I was like, ‘Hey, Doke, what’s up?’ And he said congrats and that he’s excited to have me here.”
Azubuike said at the Jazz recent Media Day: “He (Agbaji) was my roommate in college. He’s a great player. I’m glad to see him again, to get to play on the same team. He’s a great kid, a great guy. He likes to work hard. He’s a great competitor.”