R.J. Nembhard says he sees similarities between Ochai Agbaji and Desmond Bane

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Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Cavaliers guard R.J. Nembhard had some serious praise for his teammate Ochai Agbaji.

Agbaji, who was the No. 14 overall pick in the 2022 NBA Draft out of the University of Kansas, is hoping to make an immediate impact in Cleveland. Nembhard thinks he can, and he compared him to Memphis Grizzlies wing Desmond Bane in the process.

“I played Ochai my whole college career,” said Nembhard. “He’s gotten better and better and better each year. He’s very confident now. He’s super humble, super grounded and excited to be part of the organization. He’s super athletic and he goes super hard. He’s constantly learning. He wants to get better.”

Last season at Kansas, Agbaji averaged 18.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game while shooting 47.5 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc.

He helped lead Kansas to the national title and was named the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.

“I do (see the comparisons),” Nembhard said of Agbaji and Bane. “Des is my guy. I think Des got him on the shot right now. But O I think is more athletic than Bane. They do have similarities. Plug-and-play guys. Put them anywhere and they will be effective. Can get to the rim. Can shoot. Can defend. That’s a hot commodity right now. It’s a huge asset for our organization.”

Bane really broke out for the Grizzlies in the 2021-22 season, becoming one of the team’s leading scorers and a key piece in the starting lineup alongside Ja Morant. The Cavs certainly would love for Agbaji to develop into a similar player.

The first step for Agbaji will be playing well at the NBA’s Las Vegas Summer League. It will be his first taste of NBA action, and the Cavs are hoping he is up to the task.

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Peter is a graduate of Quinnipiac University where he covered the MAAC and college basketball for three years. He has worked for NBC Sports, the Connecticut Sun and the Meriden Record-Journal covering basketball and other major sports. Follow him on Twitter @peterdewey2.