Before arriving on campus this fall, graduate student forward Ralph Gonzales-Agee was not too familiar with the idea of taking buses to get around campus. He had to take a shuttle at San José State to the weight room, but that was nothing compared to Rutgers.
“I’m so happy (the Rutgers buses) are around because I didn’t bring my car out here,” Agee said in an exclusive interview with The Daily Targum at Rutgers men’s basketball’s annual media day. “Where our weight training room is, we had to go to a different campus, so we had a little shuttle then. But this shuttle takes us multiple places, so I’m definitely happy.”
Now settled in and familiar with his new surroundings, Agee has the opportunity to be a valuable piece for the Scarlet Knights in their quest to make a second consecutive NCAA Tournament this winter. Agee committed to Rutgers in July, a move that marked the last addition head coach Steve Pikiell made to the roster for the season.
“We are extremely excited to add (Agee) to the Rutgers basketball family,” Pikiell said. “(Agee) is a mature young man that will bring a combination of talent and experience in the frontcourt to our program as soon as he gets on campus. He is eager to compete at the highest level of college basketball in the Big Ten Conference, and most importantly, he wants nothing more than to help us win.”
After beginning his road to the Knights at Cal State Dominguez Hills, Agee played one season at East Los Angeles College under head coach John Mosley where he helped the team to a successful 24-5 record and a trip to the SoCal Regional Playoffs.
The following season, Mosley and East Los Angeles gained national notoriety on Netflix’s hit show “Last Chance U: Basketball”. On the show, Mosley is seen to be a passionate and energetic coach that is driven to help his players earn scholarships and further their lives beyond basketball.
“We were a very hardworking group of guys … He was always very honest about getting in (work) after practice or getting in (work) before practice, or if you didn’t have a good game, just move on,” Agee said when asked what impact Mosley had on him as a player and a person. “(Mosley) is ... an energetic guy, one of the most energetic coaches I've been around. He’s a workhorse. But yeah, (the show is) definitely accurate.”
Agee departed the Huskies to play two seasons at San José State. Last year, Agee started in 18 of the Spartans’ 20 games and averaged approximately 11 points per game on 57 percent shooting to go along with 5.6 rebounds.
On Feb. 1, Agee became the first San Jose State player in four seasons to win Mountain West Men's Basketball Player of the Week after putting together a 22 point, 14 rebound game in a win versus Air Force.
Now, Agee is a member of Rutgers' team and looks to bring an added spark to the program at the big man position. Standing at 6 feet 8 inches, Agee is a skilled big man with the ability to shoot the mid-range shot, pass the ball and play away from the basket. He had an effective field goal percentage of 57.1 percent and a true-shooting percentage of 58.3 percent last season.
“I definitely try to model my game after DeMarcus Cousins ... (LeBron James), you know, is a strong dude, he drives to the basket and gets to where he needs to go off of his strength and athleticism,” Agee said when asked if there is any player he tries to model his game after. “Definitely those two and just being a very versatile type of guy.”
Above all else, Agee is motivated to provide a future for his son, Kai, by obtaining his master's degree. Agee’s Instagram post announcing his commitment to the Knights illustrated his excitement for the opportunity he has been given.
With that said, if one thing is for certain, it is that Agee is more than excited to be in Piscataway this winter.
“I never thought I would be in this position, but God has continued to bless me and my talents so I would be able to have a chance to receive my master's degree and create a better future for Kai,” Agee said. “My son is my everything, and I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to give him the world.”
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