🏀 Kansas Trio Named Mr. Jayhawk for 2021-22
LAWRENCE, Kan. – Before a capacity crowd on the floor of Allen Fieldhouse, the Kansas men’s basketball senior trio of Ochai Agbaji, David McCormack and Mitch Lightfoot were named co-recipients of the 2022 Danny Manning Mr. Jayhawk Award at its annual banquet Thursday.
Players, coaches, staff, families and Williams Education Fund donors packed Allen Fieldhouse to honor the 2022 NCAA National Championship team. Displayed on the stage were the trophies the 2022 squad won during the season – the Big 12 regular-season, the Big 12 Tournament, the NCAA Midwest Region and the NCAA title. During the evening, head coach Bill Self was also presented the crystal NABC National Championship trophy for finishing No. 1 in the 2022 USA TODAY Coaches’ Poll.
The evening emcee was Brian Hanni, radio voice of the Jayhawks. Following an invocation from KU All-America and associate athletics director Wayne Simien, the participants ate dinner while watching highlight videos of key moments in Kansas’ national championship run. Following the video Director of Athletics Travis Goff addressed the crowd, which was followed by the formal presentation of the NABC trophy. Self then introduced staff, players, by class, and coaches. KU’s six seniors said a brief word to the crowd and then Self handed out the Danny Manning Mr. Jayhawk trophies.
"I don’t know about you guys but I haven’t come down yet and I don’t know that I want to. You work so hard for a common cause and you actually do it. You feel elation but you also feel overwhelmed and humbled. This team will go down as loved as any team in the 120-plus years of history at this school. The players that come here are caretakers in the period of time they are here, and what a great job this group has done as caretakers."Head coach Bill Self
Kansas won its final 11 games of the season, posting a 34-6 overall record and tying Baylor for the Big 12 regular-season title with a 14-4 league mark. KU won its 12th Big 12 and 16th all-time conference tournament title and advanced to its NCAA-record 32nd consecutive NCAA Tournament, a streak that started in 1990. KU would then advance to its 32nd all-time Sweet 16 and its 16th Final Four. With its 72-69 win against fellow blueblood North Carolina in the championship game, KU secured its sixth all-time, fourth NCAA, national title, its first since 2008 and second under Self.
The Final Four and Big 12 Tournament Most Outstanding Player, Agbaji was a 2022 Consensus All-America First Team honoree collecting All-America first-team nods from the NABC, Associated Press, The Sporting News and USBWA. Agbaji is Kansas’ 31st all-time Consensus All-America First Team selection, which is more than any other school. He is the first Jayhawk to earn the first-team honor since Devonte’ Graham in 2018.
A finalist for most all 2022 national player of the year awards, Agbaji was named the unanimous 2022 Big 12 Player of the Year after leading the conference in scoring with an average of 18.8 points per game. The Kansas City, Missouri, guard finished second in the league in three-point field goal percentage (40.9%, 23rd nationally) and second in three-point field goals made per game (2.6).
A four-year starter for KU, Agbaji etched his name into the Kansas records book. He set the record for consecutive games of three-point field goals made at 53. Agbaji concludes his KU career ranked 15th on the KU career scoring list with 1,652 points, fourth on the three-point field goals made (250), fourth on three-point field goals attempted (670) and ninth in minutes played (3,978).
Named the 2022 Big 12 Men’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year earlier this week, McCormack averaged 10.6 points and 7.0 rebounds his senior campaign. The Norfolk, Virginia, forward was named to the Final Four All-Tournament Team, where he averaged 20.0 points and 9.5 rebounds in KU’s two wins versus Villanova and North Carolina. In the title contest against UNC, McCormack posted his 11th double-double of the season with 15 points and 10 rebounds.
A three-time Academic All-Big 12 First Team honoree, McCormack’s 11 double-doubles led the conference in 2021-22. His 7.0 rebounds ranked third in the Big 12 and he was eighth in free throw percentage at 75.6% and ninth in blocked shots per game (0.8). A 2022 All-Big 12 Third Team honoree, last season in 2020-21, McCormack led the Big 12 in field goal percentage at 51.5% and was the first recipient of the league’s Most Improved Player Award.
McCormack concludes his career with 1,148 points, which ranks 46th on the KU career scoring list.
Being a part of six seasons at Kansas, Lightfoot will go down as the winningest player in KU history as KU amassed 171 victories from 2016-17 through 2021-22. The Gilbert, Arizona, forward donned the KU uniform in 168 games which ranks fifth all-time in NCAA history.
As a Jayhawk, Lightfoot won four Big 12 regular-season titles, two Big 12 Tournaments and advanced to six NCAA Tournaments, three Elite Eights and two Final Fours, garnering the 2022 National Championship. His 17 career games played in the NCAA Tournament are more than any other KU player. Lightfoot concludes his KU career No. 9 on the career blocked shots list at 156.