NEW ORLEANS — Devon Dotson, Udoka Azubuike, Ochai Agbaji, Marcus Garrett.
These were the leading scorers from Kansas’ 2019-20 team that was 28-3 and poised for a number 1 seed in the NCAA tournament and a possible run at a Final Four berth before the pandemic ended everyone’s season early.
Only one of those players is still on this year’s national championship squad in Agbaji.
With five players on this year’s team on the roster of the 2019 team, four of them starters, they are seeking to win a national championship for the team that could not.
“Everything was kind of going right for us. Everybody was gelling, connecting,” senior David McCormack said who was a sophomore on the 2019 team. “I see this year as an avengement to that team and what they rightfully deserve and now it’s just [on us] to go get it.”
“Everybody was just playing their best ball at that time.”
Agbaji was also a starter on the team that won their last 16 games and was ranked number 1 in the country heading into the Big 12 tournament.
“Thinking back to that and that feeling of playing on that team, I think it just replicates to how we are now and how this team moves and our confidence on this team,” Agbaji said.
“That’s why I keep saying we’re doing it for them because we just have that same feeling.”
Head coach Bill Self said on Sunday that he knows the beginning of the pandemic affected everyone but that team was his most equipped team to make a run.
“We had the best big man defensive player in the country, we had the best guard defensive player in the country and we had a 2nd team All-American on top of that. That was tough for our guys.”
Self said the toughest parts of losing that season were being knocked out in the second round of the NCAA tournament the year before the 2020 tournament and the year after.
“Getting here is pretty sweet for us in large part because many guys on this team didn’t have a chance to play in it.”
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