Gradey Dick-Kansas connection proves Ochai Agbaji was destined to join Raptors

Agbaji was made to be a Raptor as he joins fellow Kansas alumni Gradey Dick
Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz
Los Angeles Lakers v Utah Jazz / Alex Goodlett/GettyImages

In an early trade deadline move, the Toronto Raptors decided to acquire Canadian Kelly Olynyk and 2022 lottery selection Ochai Agbaji from the Utah Jazz in exchange for Kira Lewis Jr, Otto Porter Jr, and a 2024 first-round pick.

Toronto parted ways with two players who didn't mean much to the rotation and a late first-round pick in what is perceived to be a weak class for two quality rotation pieces. Both of them seem to be long-term fits, as Toronto is reportedly keen on Olynyk returning in 2024.

Though Olynyk's services as a skilled backup big are worth marveling at, it's Toronto's sneaky pickup of a still relatively young player in the 23-year-old Agbaji, who possesses decent potential as a 3-and-D wing or bigger SG. Add in the fact that Agbaji is a former product of the Kansas Jayhawks, he will have much to bond with his new teammate Gradey Dick.

Back in 2022, just as Gradey Dick was entering his freshman season at Kansas, he was greeted to a pleasant note in his new dorm room courtesy of the former occupant and recently draft NBA prospect, Ochai Agbaji. On this uplifting note, Agbaji wrote these words of encouragement, "Whoever takes over this room, be great."

Ochai Agbaji joining Gradey Dick on the Raptors was almost inevitable

In an almost poetic sense of things coming full circle, the tandem of Agbaji and Dick now found themselves as teammates on the Raptors two years later. Agbaji brings a lot to this Raptors squad thrust in the middle of a rebuilding process centered on their young core, which certainly includes Toronto's recent lottery pick in Dick.

As a member of the Utah Jazz, Agbaji did not make a huge impact, averaging a little over six points per game and shooting around 34% from 3-point range in two seasons. The hope is that a fresh coat of paint will do wonders for his status as a shooter.

One could interpret Agbaji's career thus far to be underwhelming considering he was a former lottery pick, but the change in scenery could prove extremely helpful in reviving Ochai's chances to be an effective player in this league.

No one expects Agbaji to break out and become an insane double-digit scoring star (that would be a pleasant surprise, though), but his abilities to be a decent defender for Toronto and help Scottie Barnes are enticing. And who knows, perhaps Dick and Agbaji become Toronto's newest fan-favorite 'the vibes are back' duo.