It was tweaks made in his offensive game along the way that have helped Coppell junior Ryan Agarwal to score 1,000 points in his high school career.
Growing up, Agarwal was four or five inches taller than most players that he went against. He used his size to back down opponents and mixed in the occasional mid-range shot.
These days, Agarwal is attacking the rim and shooting 13-foot jump shots, but he has also become an exceptional 3-point shooter.
Agarwal expanded his offensive arsenal once he started to work out with 3D Empire basketball coach Shawn Ward. He stressed to Agarwal of the importance of not turning down open jump shots.
Agarwal said that Ward’s coaching has helped mold him into the 3-point shooter that he is today.
“I started to be confident in my shooting because of him,” Agarwal said. “His whole philosophy is to shoot open shots and getting to score for people offensively. It built my confidence up a lot."
Coming into Coppell’s Feb. 12 home game against Plano West, Agarwal needed just five points to reach 1,000 for his career. He attained that milestone in the first quarter.
Agarwal was presented with a banner after the game.
"It's huge,” he said. “I can't take it for granted. I've worked hard for it. I got to enjoy it with my teammates, my coaches and everyone else. There was a celebration that day, but we've got to keep moving forward. It was a huge accomplishment."
The Cowboys defeated the Wolves, 58-42, in their first game back from quarantine. It was the first of three games in less than 24 hours for Coppell. The Cowboys handled Flower Mound, 52-30, the following morning, but lost to Plano, 57-53, in overtime later in the day. Coppell earned a split of the 6-6A crown with Marcus.
Agarwal’s attention is now on the postseason. Coppell was slated to host Allen on Saturday afternoon in a Class 6A bi-district championship. The game was scheduled to be played at Prosper Rock Hill but was moved to Coppell.
Because of the winter weather and rolling blackouts across the Metroplex, the game was pushed back two days, from Thursday to Saturday. Coppell, like every other team in the area, hasn’t been able to practice. Agarwal has been in constant contact with his teammates and a few Cowboys have met in person.
"We haven't really been able to do anything except stay in contact,” he said. “A couple of us guys have hung out and just chilled to keep the chemistry up. The main thing to do is to stay safe. We're hoping to get back into the gym (Friday) for practice and hopefully play Saturday."
Given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, Agarwal is happy that the UIL gave Coppell a season, and he has gotten to play with fellow juniors Anthony Black, Nazir Brown and Devank Rane – all of whom play on the same AAU team, 3D Empire.
Agarwal, Black, Brown and Rane have helped Coppell to stay atop the 6-6A standings despite losing a great senior class from last season’s team to graduation – a list headlined by Adam Moussa (11.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.9 assists per game) and Brandon Taylor (11.8 points, 2.7 rebounds).
"Having them for AAU and for high school, that chemistry is just on another level," Agarwal said. "We're hanging out on the court, hanging out together at AAU, driving together to AAU practices, driving together to high school practice. All of that time together translates on the court."
Brown transferred to Coppell last offseason and has provided the Cowboys with another playmaker who has delivered in big moments. Brown scored 18 of his 33 points during the fourth quarter of a Jan. 5 game against Lewisville to help Coppell earn an 83-73 victory.
“He has fit in super well,” Agarwal said. “He's a super competitive teammate."
Agarwal has also thought about his future. The current pandemic hasn’t stopped college coaches from scouting Agarwal. The 6-foot-5 forward has offers from Creighton, Denver, Harvard, Marist, Oklahoma State, Rice, St. Louis, SMU, Stanford and UT-Arlington.
"It's huge getting to know all of the coaches and build as much of a relationship with them during this whole COVID situation,” he said. “Being recognized by these schools, even during these tough times, is huge. You've got to be grateful for what you've got. It's really a blessing."
According to 247Sports, Agarwal is listed is a four-star prospect who is projected to be a Power-5 starter.
“Agarwal is a deadeye shooter off the catch,” Brandon Jenkins of 247Sports wrote in a scouting report that was filed Jan. 1. “He excels at spotting up in transition, coming off screens, and finding openings based on penetration reads. One part of his game that usually goes unnoticed is his basketball IQ. Agarwal specializes as a shooter but he has a generally good understanding of how to play with other good players on the offensive end. He is tougher than most give him credit for and will mix it up and compete on the glass.”