KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Monday's NCAA championship game is especially exciting for a few local high schools who have alumni playing for the University of Kansas.
At Oak Park High School, students and staff are celebrating "Och Park Day" for former Oak Park basketball player and current KU player Ochai Agbaji.
Assistant principal Jackie Gosney was one of Agbaji's teachers when he was a student at the school. She said everyone has been cheering him on during the season and can't wait to watch him Monday night.
"It's really exciting, and you can definitely feel the energy to see that one of our own has made it that far and that it is attainable and something that they can reach for as well," Gosney said.
Gosney said Agbaji was always a hard worker and his teachers knew he would go far.
"We always believed in him here at Oak Park, but for the rest of the world to get to see that he is everything we thought he was is really exciting," Gosney said.
An Agbaji shrine sits outside of Robin Marsh's classroom. She's also known as "Rock Chalk Robin" and calls herself a die-hard KU basketball fan.
She said Agbaji's success is a lesson to other students to work hard if they're passionate about something.
" Ochai didn't just go on there as like the number one person, he has worked his way up, he just never gives up," Marsh said.
For students like Rylan Bishop, a senior basketball player, watching Ochai go for the NCAA title is just as inspiring as it is exciting.
"I'm never going to be dunking on people like he is, but who knows, maybe I'll get to that level one day too," Bishop said.
There is a buzz among students and staff at Blue Valley northwest High School as well. KU shooting guard Christian Braun played basketball for the school and helped take the team to win the 2019 state championship.
Senior Joey Robinson was a freshman when Braun was a senior and remembers looking up to him as a player.
"It's really cool, growing up I probably watched every single game, it shows that it is possible for kids from Kansas to do that and he's been a role model for I'm sure a lot of kids in the Kansas area," Robinson said.