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Kansas' Ochai Agbaji, Christian Braun taken in 1st round of 2022 NBA Draft

Agbaji goes to Cleveland, Braun to Denver
NCAA Kansas Villanova Basketball
Posted at 5:23 PM, Jun 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-25 06:38:11-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — Former Kansas men's basketball players Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun are no strangers to the spotlight, but Thursday might rank as the biggest night of their lives after both were selected in the top 21 picks during the 2022 NBA Draft.

"Even though you knew it was going to happen, in the span of seconds, lives are changed for a long time, maybe forever," Jayhawks coach Bill Self said.

From Oak Park and Blue Valley Northwest high schools to national champions with KU, Agbaji, who went 14th with the last pick in the draft lottery to Cleveland, and Braun, who went 21st to Denver, are now pros.

"First off, I just want to thank the organization of Cleveland for drafting me, believing in me," Agbaji said.

NBA Draft Basketball
Ochai Agbaji is congratulated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 14th overall by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York.

He is the 12th player picked among the NBA's lottery selections for non-playoff teams during the Self era.

"I'm going to give you 110%, every single day and a positive attitude," Agbaji said. "That's really all. I'm just going to be a hard worker, come in be humble and represent my city well."

Braun didn't have to wait long after seeing Agbaji's NBA dream come true for his own to be realized.

"I'm just grateful, to see Ochai go off the board, see myself go off the board and then obviously to see his family and my family here, I'm just grateful," Braun said.

NBA Draft Basketball
Christian Braun, right, is congratulated by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver after being selected 21st overall by the Denver Nuggets in the NBA basketball draft, Thursday, June 23, 2022, in New York.

As the two former Jayhawks stars move onto an even bigger stage, Self said he has no doubt about what they can do.

"They were excited and what they both bring is winning culture as much as anything," Self said. "They're winners, and they'll add to whatever cultures already in place and existing there."

With Agbaji's and Braun's selections, 27 players have been drafted into the NBA during Self's tenure at Kansas.