Kansas guard Christian Braun scored six points on 2-of-9 shooting with seven rebounds, six assists and four steals in Team Johnson’s 74-73 loss to Team Erman on Thursday at the NBA Combine in Chicago.
Braun, a 6-foot-7 senior-to-be out of Blue Valley Northwest High, has entered his name in the 2022 NBA Draft, with the option of returning to school if he drops out of draft consideration by June 1. He was 1-of-3 from three-point range while starting and playing 25 minutes. Gonzaga’s Drew Timme scored 13 points to lead Team Johnson; North Carolina State’s Dereon Seabron had 17 points to lead Team Erman.
Also, KU junior-to-be forward Jalen Wilson scored 10 points and grabbed six rebounds while starting and playing 26 minutes in Team Weaver’s 100-81 loss to Team Curry.
Wilson, a 6-8 Denton, Texas native, was invited to participate at the Combine after faring well at G League Elite Camp on Monday and Tuesday. Against Team Curry, he hit 4 of 11 shots and was 0-for-4 from three-point range, with two assists and two turnovers. Like Braun, WIlson has the option of returning to school if he exits the draft by June 1.
North Carolina State’s Terquavion Smith had had 17 points to lead Team Weaver, while Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn had 11 points and 13 rebounds. Arkansas’ Jaylin Williams had 16 points and Purdue’s Trevion Williams 14 points and 13 rebounds for the winning team.
Wilson was 7-of-11 from three-point range in two games at the G League Elite Camp.
KU’s Ochai Agbaji is at the Combine but not playing in 5-on-5 games. He’s been mentioned as a certain first-round pick, and thus has decided to only participate in interviews and measurements at the Combine.
KU coach Bill Self, who is attending the combine to support the KU players, spoke to Andy Katz of NCAA March Madness on Thursday at the Combine. Self indicated there’s a strong possibility Braun and Wilson will remain in the draft with Agbaji.
“That’s what we are hearing … in that mid to late lottery range. If he’s outside the lottery, not by much,” Self said of KU graduate Agbaji likely being selected as a lottery pick in the June 23 Draft.
The lottery consists of the first 14 picks.
“We think Christian Braun obviously has a chance to be a first-round pick as well,” Self continued. “I think he’s a first-round talent. You’ve just got to fit the right team. And Jalen Wilson has played really well here, too. I think all they, all three, have put themselves in a pretty favorable position.”
Counting Braun and Wilson, as well as former Texas Tech player Kevin McCullar, who committed to KU on Thursday night out of the transfer portal, the Jayhawks would be over the full scholarship allotment of 13 scholarship players for the 2022-23 season. McCullar also has entered his name in the NBA Draft.
The Jayhawks are currently recruiting former Iowa State point guard Tyrese Hunter out of the transfer portal and remain on the recruiting list of former Missouri State guard Isiaih Mosley.
“We’ve just got to kind of figure out what goes on in the Combine and see how they work out (for individual teams before June 1) after that,” Self said. “We’ve got to get busy in the portal too, because depending on this we’ll have to jump in there (portal) head first. We’re recruiting guys now not knowing if we’ll have scholarships available, Our team will be different this year but I still think our team will be pretty good.”
Self was asked by Katz which returnees might be impact players on KU’s team in 2022-23.
“The guy who gets absolutely little credit is Dajuan Harris, and he’s a great guard,” Self said Thursday. “Zach Clemence will have a huge impact for us. I really think that the guys we signed — Gradey Dick, MJ Rice and the two bigs we got, Ernest Udeh and Zuby (Ejiofor), those guys have a chance to be impact players immediately.
“We’ll be different. We’ll look different. We won’t be experienced. Hopefully, expectations can be lowered a just a little bit. I do think these guys will end up being a pretty good team.”