Kansas' Christian Braun to Enter 2022 NBA Draft, Maintain College Eligibility

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVApril 24, 2022

NEW ORLEANS, LOUISIANA - APRIL 04: Christian Braun #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks cuts down the net after defeating the North Carolina Tar Heels 72-69 during the 2022 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament National Championship at Caesars Superdome on April 04, 2022 in New Orleans, Louisiana. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)
Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Kansas wing Christian Braun announced Sunday he would be entering the 2022 NBA draft, though he'll maintain his college eligibility in the event he chooses to return to school. 

"It is hard to follow a season where you win every championship that's in front of you, but I'm excited to explore the options in front of me and enjoy this process," the junior told ESPN's Jonathan Givony. "I've worked my whole life to show the NBA who I am and what I'm about, so I will continue to put my head down and work to achieve my dream of playing in the NBA."

Gary Bedore @GaryBedore

Self says Braun "wants to keep his amateur eligibility availability and keep his options open to return to school." Self said "we all believe Christian is a first-round talent."

Braun, 21, averaged 14.1 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 34 minutes per game this past season, playing a variety of roles and positions for the Jayhawks in their run to a national championship. He also made 38.6 percent of his threes, making him the prototypical three-and-D prospect NBA teams crave. 

He played a pivotal role for Kansas in the title game against North Carolina, scoring 12 points and adding 12 boards and three assists. 

Jonathan Givony @DraftExpress

Christian Braun's defense on Caleb Love was the difference in Kansas winning the national championship. Some huge possessions showing length on pullups and using verticality at the rim to force difficult shots. Also brought toughness with 12 rebounds. Potential 1st round pick. <a href="https://t.co/3tJrYH9hJc">pic.twitter.com/3tJrYH9hJc</a>

"Winning a national championship was our goal from day one," Braun said. "I showed the NBA the different ways that I impact winning, on both sides of the ball and my willingness to do whatever it takes to put my team in the best position. Whether it's knocking down open shots, scoring in transition, or defending the opposing team's best player, my primary focus is taking any challenge in front of me head-on to help our team."

In his latest mock draft, B/R's Jonathan Wasserman projected Braun to be selected No. 27 overall by the Miami Heat, noting that he "consistently contributed transition scoring, pick-and-roll offense, spot-up shooting and defensive playmaking."

He added that Braun has "plus athletic ability, so it's at least easy to picture his open-floor finishing carrying over. And though he doesn't create his own offense without a screen, his improved three-ball and passing remain promising."

So while Braun may be maintaining his college eligibility, it seems like a pretty good bet he'll be a first-round selection and will be in the NBA next season.