Parker Braun visited Illinois earlier this week, and he might soon be the seventh (!!) member of the 2018 Illinois recruiting class.
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound Overland Park, Kansas, native is unranked, but his offer list boasts schools such as Arizona, Ole Miss, LSU and Virginia Tech, per 247Sports.
Braun ran with MOKAN Elite during his EYBL circuit days, backing up former MIzzou big man Jontay Porter.
Braun’s above-the-rim presence is immediately noticeable and would gel quite nicely with what Brad Underwood has going on. His offensive production in high school came in the soft post, a place where he could sneak behind defenders and slide step in for an alley-oop, or pop back out to the perimeter, open up driving lanes, and knock one down from behind the arc.
He isn’t a traditional big man, but he has the potential to excel at the rising stretch four position. With a 43 percent stroke from deep, Braun isn’t just a threat around the rim. His ability to stretch the floor out and play along the perimeter is something we saw a lot of from the Illinois offense last season and could allow Braun to make an impact offensively.
The post moves from the highlight clip are almost nonexistent, but that won’t be a huge deal making the transition. Rarely will an Illini big man be asked to ISO and post up in Underwood’s run-and-gun scheme, as he places his bigs on the elbows where wings initiate cross-cutting action.
Braun’s skillset would allow him to fake the handoff and make a move to the rim, accept the handoff and roll behind the guard, or step out and bang it from deep. He’s undersized for the collegiate level, even as a perimeter four, so the strength and conditioning staff would look to add at least 20 more pounds to Braun’s frame. That being said, he would enter the offseason with as good a chance as any to make an impact in the frontcourt
A commitment from Braun would address a couple areas of concern the staff had coming into the offseason: rim protection, perimeter shooting and athleticism. The Illini frontcourt currently includes Greg Eboigbodin, Samba Kane and Giorgi Bezhanishvili, with Kipper Nichols and Aaron Jordan likely getting a few minutes at the four.
Illinois currently has the 23rd ranked recruiting class for 2018 and two more scholarship left entering the 2018-19 season.