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Underrated: Get ready for Chibuzo Agbo Jr.

What Lubbock can look forward to from the San Diego native.

Chibuzo Agbo Jr. on Twitter

Texas Tech is coming off back-to-back years of gaining some of the highest-rated recruits in school history. Last year it was Jahmi’us Ramsey. This year it’s Nimari Burnett and Micah Peavy. All three of these recruits have earned a 247Composite ranking of .98 or higher coming out of high school. Outside of Ramsey, no other player with that high of a rating has ever played more than a game for the Red Raiders. We are in uncharted territory as fans, a territory where it can be easy to become spoiled. Players who don’t crack Top 100’s or are high-level transfers have begun to get less and less attention. National media outlets now acknowledge these players as projects, not players ready to contribute.

One of those players who have been put on the back-burner by too many is Chibuzo Agbo Jr. As the 118th nationally ranked prospect (247Sports Composite), Agbo Jr. hasn’t been shown enough appreciation. Despite being projected as a “high major starter” by 247’s Josh Gershon, he is often left out of the conversation as a high-level contributor to next year’s Texas Tech team. While Chris Beard’s ever changing rotation makes it difficult to project him as a starter, one thing still remains certain: big minutes are in store for Agbo Jr.

John Gastaldo - The San Diego Union-Tribune

I spoke to Agbo Jr.’s former head coach Mike Haupt who mentioned the impact he had in his time at Saint Augustine. “Chibuzo is a tremendous young man who is very driven to succeed,” Haupt said, “he is also one of the best ‘team first’ guys we have had in our program.” When you have a guy like that, their value goes far beyond what it appears.

When you look at the numbers, it’s really a mystery as to why he’s often overlooked. Agbo Jr. shredded the Adidas Circuit last summer. It can be easy to pad stats in leagues like this where transition offense dominates, but Agbo Jr’s half-court offense numbers show his true talent. Per Synergy Sports, he averaged .992 points per possession in the half-court which placed himself in the 90th percentile of all players in the circuit. Despite being a forward, Agbo Jr. has the jumper of a shooting guard. He finished the circuit with an adjusted field goal percentage of 45.7, a little below what he’s capable of but still impressive. Agbo Jr. is also very hard to stop when slashing due to his size and strength. He used this to his advantage in the circuit and walked away with a half-court free throw rate (frequency at which a player gets to the line) of 20 percent, the third-highest on the circuit.

The film on Agbo Jr. defends his numbers and projections. His versatility at 6-7 is proving to make him a lethal scoring threat. Not only is he comfortable on the wing, but he can also score with ease in the paint. Coach Haupt touched on this, “He creates mismatches on offense....he is much improved in the post.”

This is what I’m most looking forward to seeing get displayed at Texas Tech: slashing. His size in combination with his speed makes him difficult to keep up with in stride, and his strength allows him to fight through contact. Coach Haupt wasn’t shy about what he thinks Agbo Jr. could do on these opportunities. “He should shoot 8-10 free throws a game if he is attacking on the wing and post,” he mentioned to me. With the aggressiveness Agbo Jr. shows, Coach Haupt has a point.

The athleticism from Agbo Jr. is really impressive. You can see how he’s not just fast, but bouncy.

He continues to look comfortable with his ball handling and passing on the wing, something that could be very effective in the motion offense.

His length is already proving to make him an effective defender. Not only do his long arms make him a threat to block shots, but his lateral quickness can disrupt his assignment’s ball-handling as it does here. “He makes it so difficult to shoot over him either on the wing or post,” Coach Haupt said, “the other aspect of Buzo that makes it difficult to play against him is that he is extremely strong.” With a 215 pound frame of pure muscle, Agbo Jr. might have one of the most already conditioned builds of his entire class.

Then, of course, is his jump shot. Agbo Jr. is so fluid with his release and shoots the ball with ease. It’s a cheat code how Agbo Jr. can shoot the ball like a guard despite being a forward.

All footage is credited to BallerVisions on Youtube

Coach Haupt consistently reiterated one aspect of Agbo Jr’s personality: selflessness. “First and foremost he wants to win,” he emphasized, “He is one of the most unselfish players we have had at Saints in my 25 years.” That’s high praise, and represents Agbo Jr. as the kind of player Chris Beard loves. In fact, when I asked Coach Haupt what he expected Agbo Jr’s role to be next year, he reiterated that “Buzo will do whatever Coach Beard needs.” While it’s often entertaining to project and predict what’s in store for a player, one thing is always important to remember: some athletes are always willing to do whatever it takes to win.