The University of Kansas is coming off an incredible run through the NCAA Tournament that ultimately capped off with a National Championship victory over North Carolina. A few key players from the reigning National Champion Jayhawks including Ochai Agbaji and Christian Braun were invited to attend the NBA Scouting Combine this month while David McCormack, Mitch Lightfoot and Remy Martin are on their way out of Lawrence after wrapping up their senior seasons.
Agbaji attended the combine last year and ultimately decided to come back to Kansas for another season. Braun, who is coming off a season where he recorded a career-high in points, rebounds, assists and steals, is testing the waters but has retained his college eligibility.
Could Braun follow the lead of his teammate and return to KU for his senior season? Let’s take a look at five reasons why it may be a good idea for Braun to run it back with the Jayhawks one more time.
1. No Rush to NBA with NIL
It used to be that college kids would want to declare for the NBA Draft early so they could make their money (legally, who are we kidding, we know kids have been getting paid for a while behind the scenes). Now it is a lot easier for these college athletes to score deals with companies to make some money on the side while being able to go to school and play their sport.
Especially at a place like the Kansas Basketball program, Braun will likely have many more opportunities for sponsorships at KU in 2022 than via the NBA’s G-League which is where he’d likely land if he decided to make the jump to the next level this summer.
2. Cement Status in Jayhawk History
Braun is already going to be in rarified company after being a key piece to bringing a National Championship trophy back to Allenfield House. However, he could become a part of the first team in the storied history of the Kansas Jayhawks basketball program to win back-to-back National Titles. The attraction to run-it-back one more time with Coach Bill Self and his boys could be a big draw for someone like Braun, who is a kid from Kansas himself. He would cement himself as an all-time Kansas great if he led the team to another Championship along with improving his game and potentially being an All-American in the process.
3. Christian Braun and Gradey Dick Combo
The Kansas Jayhawks are adding one of the nation’s top recruits in Wichita native Gradey Dick. Braun and Dick could combine to be one of the top teammate duos in America. Dick is a two-time Kansas Gatorade Player of the Year and Braun won that same title in 2019. Watching these two Kansas kids dominate at the collegiate level and bringing more success to the Jayhawks basketball program would be a great story and one that could lift Braun to another level as a prospect.
4. Improving Draft Stock
Like Agbaji at this time last year, Braun could be seen as a late first or early second round selection in the upcoming NBA Draft. If Braun returns to Kansas and improves his game even slightly, he could raise his stock and become a mid-first round type talent. He’ll have another full season playing at one of the top college basketball programs under his belt to help get him into that next tier. It looks to have paid off for Agbaji and could do the same for Braun.
5. The College Experience
The NBA will always be there to try and conquer, especially for players like Braun. He is a good enough player that he could be drafted this year or next year and his stock likely won’t take a big hit from one year to the next unless he suffers a catastrophic injury (which he likely has insurance for to be safe). You only get one college experience, and when you can have that experience playing basketball at the University of Kansas, in your home state, basking in the glory of old KU, then you might as well enjoy it while you can.
With all of these factors being considered, Braun would be wise to come back for one more season at the University of Kansas. Put the NBA dream on hold for one more season and cement your legacy in Jayhawk history.