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Mizzou Hoops Player Review: Parker Braun

Braun once again flashed high-level talent on the offensive end, but didn’t defend well enough to stick in the rotation.

NCAA Basketball: Arkansas at Missouri Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

We’re only on our second postseason player review story and as Karen Steger put it to me recently: “It’s transfer week!”

On Monday, we started our annual series of reviewing the Mizzou roster player-by-player with a look at Xavier Pinson, Missouri’s enigmatic point guard who quickly departed the roster following year’s end. Following him out the door in the next week was Parker Braun, a local big man who flashed some big potential in his two years as a Tiger. However, inconsistent defense stopped Braun from becoming the stable rotation member he envisioned.

Basketball Editor Matt Harris took the time to dig through Braun’s numbers, determining where he went right, where he went wrong and where he’ll go next.

Parker Braun By the Numbers

Season Minutes % Offensive Rating Usage Rate Points % Effective FG % True Shooting % Off. Rebounding % Def. Rebounding % Assist Rate Turnover %
Season Minutes % Offensive Rating Usage Rate Points % Effective FG % True Shooting % Off. Rebounding % Def. Rebounding % Assist Rate Turnover %
2020-2021 17.5 130.4 12.5 2.9 66.7 66.2 6.3 12.1 7.2 9.9
2019-2020 11.3 108.3 12.2 1.6 75 69.3 5.8 14.4 9.4 27.7

What went well?

While Parker Braun’s overall efficiency took a hit from his freshman season, his offensive rating soared to 130.4. Why is that? Simply put, Braun became a more dynamic player who didn’t give the ball away. Eventually, MU found a way toggle between him and Mitchell Smith as non-traditional fives to ease the workload placed on Jeremiah Tilmon. And on the right night, Braun might draw another non-traditional post player — Georgia’s Toumani Camara comes to mind — that would hide his deficiencies trying to defend straight-up on the block. Offensively, Braun filled in the margins at times: a rim run, a putback, a dump-off to the short corner, a face-up 3-ball.

What didn’t go well?

For Braun to earn larger role, he needed to provide two commodities: solid post defense and rebounding. And while he occasionally rotated from the weak side to swat a shot, those displays couldn’t mask that Braun struggled to guard sturdier post players inside and hurt the Tigers on the backboards. With Braun on the floor, MU’s defensive rebounding rate slid by six percentage points, per Hoop Lens’ possession data. Allowing 1.143 points per possession on post-ups dented his case, too. Sure, the volume of possessions is modest. Yet Martin fed more minutes to Braun, and the defensive metrics didn’t improve. While Martin’s evolved offensively, a path to playing time starts on the defense, and Braun could never quite prove himself to be reliable enough on that end of the floor.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri at Mississippi
Parker Braun added to his offensive game in 2020-2021, but struggled to provide the defense and rebounding help that Cuonzo Martin wanted.
Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

What’s next?

With Braun joining Xavier Pinson and Mark Smith in the transfer portal, he’ll be hunting for a new home next season. Ideally, Braun would find a landing spot at a quality mid-major program. For example, he could look at Austin Peay, where Rod Clark, a former coach with MoKan Elite, is on the Governors staff and imported program alums Mike Peake, Corbin Merritt and Carlos Paez. There might be some speculation that he joins his younger brother at Kansas, which is perfectly fine. But presumably, Braun’s leaving because he wants to play. If that’s the case, there’s a mid-major coach who could turn him into the stretch five some envisioned he’d become in Columbia.

-Matt Harris