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Fort Lewis men’s basketball player Obi Agbim is in the transfer portal

Agbim led the Skyhawks with 15.5 points per game this season
Obi Agbim of Fort Lewis College scored 33 points on March 9 against Colorado Mesa University to help Fort Lewis win the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament championship in Grand Junction. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald)

One of Fort Lewis men’s basketball’s top players has entered the transfer portal to look for better opportunities.

Junior guard Obi Agbim announced on X (formerly known as Twitter) on Tuesday that he would be entering the transfer portal after speaking with his friends, family and coaches.

“I'm really thankful,” Agbim said. “My two years here at Fort Lewis was probably one of the best decisions I've made in my basketball career. Coach Pietrack, Coach Ty (Danielson), all the coaching staff, they've welcomed me with open arms. Everything they said when they recruited me, they've given me so I'm very thankful.”

Agbim said the coaching staff did nothing wrong and that he is still open to returning to Fort Lewis. A Skyhawk for two years, Agbim said he considered only staying at Fort Lewis for a year before the 2022-2023 season. However, he grew close with the team and they were winning.

“That same plan I had went out the window because I was so invested in the team that we're building and what we were doing,” Agbim said. “So coming into this season, I wasn't really thinking about it, or anything. All I was thinking about was what could I do to help winning. What could I do to produce and challenge myself to perform at a high level?”

Agbim has produced at a high level. He is a three-level scorer who has a great step-back jumper, can get to the free-throw line, finish through contact and hit 3-pointers. The Houston, Texas native is tough to stop once he starts driving right.

After averaging 10.1 points per game in his first year at Fort Lewis, Agbim stepped up his scoring and averaged 15.5 ppg on 44% from the field, 36% from 3-point range and 84% from the free-throw line as the Skyhawks went 29-4 in 2023-2024. Agbim also averaged four rebounds and 2.9 assists per game this past season.

The Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference tournament is where Agbim really showed his potential. After three games, he finished the tournament with averages of 27.3 points per game on 56% shooting from the field, 60% from 3-point range and 86% from the free-throw line. He was named tournament MVP after the Skyhawks won the RMAC tournament championship in large part because of Agbim’s 33 points in Fort Lewis’ win over Colorado Mesa.

Agbim credited the coaches with improving his defense this past season with the Skyhawks’ high-pressure defensive scheme. He also credited the coaching staff with molding the team together which was a bunch of players from different places and made them into a team that made history.

“Obi has been a major piece on two straight championship teams,” Fort Lewis head men’s basketball coach Bob Pietrack said. “We have great love and respect for him.”

Before Agbim made the announcement on X, he spoke with his coaches on Tuesday to inform them of his decision, as well as his teammates, whom he considers family as he hasn’t had a bond like this with teammates since he was in junior college.

“Just considering it and going up to coaches, having a conversation with the team, it was really hard for me because I really love the situation here,” Agbim said. “So hitting the portal, I'm looking for a similar situation. I want to impact winning. With it being my last year, I'm not hitting the portal to be a reserve. I'm in the portal to actually help a team out and lead.”

Agbim did say playing Division I basketball is a goal of his but didn’t rule out a transfer to a Division II school. But Agbim said he thinks it’d be hard to find a better situation at the Division II level than Fort Lewis and therefore his expectations are very high for any other school. He went so far as to say it’s a risk to leave his situation at Fort Lewis.

It’s a nationwide search for a better opportunity for Agbim. He reflected on how it was a new kind of lifestyle for him when he first got to Durango but he fell in love with it.

This isn’t a new challenge for the Skyhawks’ staff. After the 2022-2023 season, leading scorer Akuel Kot hit the transfer portal with a year of eligibility left and played this past season at the University of Wyoming. Kot averaged 13.8 ppg this past season and the Cowboys went 15-17.

Agbim said he and Kot have a great relationship and he’s going to consult Kot along with other players who have been in similar situations and God also.

At Fort Lewis, Agbim has pursued a major in sociology and a minor in business. He plans on getting his sociology degree this spring at Fort Lewis. Agbim could be at his fourth school next year, after spending a year at Northeastern Junior College and a year at MSU Denver. Therefore, he says he has enough credits in different areas to pursue another degree next year.

After next year, Agbim wants to continue to hoop after college wherever he can professionally.

“A year from now, the sky's the limit,” Agbim said. “I just want to go as high as I can wherever God takes me. I just want to soar as high as I can and shoot for the stars.”

bkelly@durangoherald.com