ELMONT, NY - 12.03.2021 - Men’s Basketball vs. St. Johns

ELMONT, NY - December 3, 2021 - guard Christian Braun #2 of the Kansas Jayhawks during the game between the St. John's Red Storm and the Kansas Jayhawks at UBS Arena in Elmont, NY. Photo by Missy Minear/Kansas Athletics.

Kansas men’s basketball junior guard Christian Braun electrified fans at UBS Arena in Queens, New York Friday with a 31-point career-high performance as the Jayhawks defeated St. John’s 95-75. 

Braun surpassed his previous career-high of 30 points, which he posted at last year’s Thanksgiving shootout against St. Joseph’s. Prior to this season’s holiday tournament in Orlando, Florida, senior guard Ochai Agbaji was seen as the team’s go-to scorer, but Braun has filled the void as of late. 

“Even though he’s [Braun] not on all the boards...he’s climbing up some [NBA] draft boards himself,” Kansas coach Bill Self said. 

The Burlington, Kansas native has adopted a much different role than from a season ago. Previously, Braun was known for his sharp-shooting abilities and while that is still in full effect, the 6-foot-6 guard is finding ways to drive downhill and finish in the paint. 

“Just working on being aggressive and getting back to what I did,” Braun said when asked what his emphasis was this offseason. “I feel like coming in, I wasn’t just a spot-up shooter, and that’s kind of what I turned into. But you know, I know that if I’m more aggressive, that stuff [paint] will open up.”

According to Jesse Newell with the Kansas City Star, Braun registered 40 two-point makes last season and has already tallied 38 in just seven games this year.

Whether driving downhill or moving without the rock, Braun found ways to convert scores in all facets. To start, he finished in transition following a backboard rattling block from senior forward David McCormack, which started the break.  

But as the game progressed, backcourt teammates, redshirt sophomore Dajuan Harris Jr., and super-senior Remy Martin threaded the needle, finding Braun in give-and-go type actions. Despite the favorable outing, Braun said a lot of teams are going to have to put their attention to his teammates because they can score the ball too. 

“Obviously, he can shoot the ball, and you know he’s strong and can finish around the rim, so he’s a good player,” Self said. “He’s playing the best he’s played since he has been here with us.” 

Kansas plays UT-El Paso Tuesday, Dec. 7, at the T-Mobile Center at 7 p.m. in Kansas City, Missouri.