Prep Basketball

Even Brauns of Iowa City West commits to D-I Belmont

Class of 2020 recruit averaged 11 points, 5.5 rebounds last season

Iowa City West’s Even Brauns (34) makes a basket as he is surrounded by defenders during the fourth quarter of their Class 4A quarterfinal game in the Boys’ High School State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (The Gazette)
Iowa City West’s Even Brauns (34) makes a basket as he is surrounded by defenders during the fourth quarter of their Class 4A quarterfinal game in the Boys’ High School State Basketball Tournament at Wells Fargo Arena in Des Moines on Wednesday, March 6, 2019. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — He was content to wait. He rather preferred it, actually.

“I wanted to see every single option, then narrow it down from there,” Even Brauns said. “Take it slow.”

But the Iowa City West senior-to-be basketball player took a visit with his parents recently to Belmont University, and that changed his mind. That’s why the 6-foot-9 post announced Thursday he has accepted a scholarship offer from the Nashville school.

The Bruins are a consistent mid-major winner and NCAA Tournament qualifier. Though longtime head coach Rick Byrd announced his retirement in the spring, he was replaced by Casey Alexander, a former Belmont player and longtime assistant coach who came over after a successful stint at Lipscomb University, another D-I Nashville school.

“They got my parents involved,” Brauns said. “The big thing for them was making sure that this was a place I’ll never have to leave. I don’t want to ever worry about transferring, never want to doubt my decision once I get there. So I could have waited, but I just felt there is no reason to wait anymore at this point.

“I’m very happy with my decision. The real reason I pulled the trigger now is I really didn’t think there would be a program come that hasn’t come already that would be better than this program. That could compete with the way they do things.”

Brauns averaged 11 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots per game this past season for a West team that qualified for the Class 4A state tournament. He shot 67.8 percent from the field as a true inside player.

A transfer from Iowa City Regina, it took awhile for Brauns to get acclimated to big-school basketball, but once he did, he was a force. There definitely is upside with him.

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He said he had other offers from Northern Iowa, Toledo, Milwaukee, South Dakota, Indiana State, Bradley, Wofford and Appalachian State.

“Belmont did something no school has ever really done,” Brauns said. “They sent me this huge packet, and basically the whole packet went through the coach’s philosophy and the type of kids they recruit. They just do things different. They really take their time to make sure they recruit the right kind of players. They don’t offer a lot of kids at all. They’ve offered three kids in my class and only one post, which was me.

“They don’t take shortcuts, do everything the right way ... It was all of those little things adding up.”

l Comments: (319) 398-8259; jeff.johnson@thegazette.com

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