Cuonzo Martin added his second walk-on in May on Thursday as Blue Valley Northwest power forward Parker Braun passed up Power Five scholarship offers and committed to Missouri as a preferred walk-on.
Braun is no stranger to Columbia and has ties to both Tigers basketball programs. His mother, Lisa Sandbothe, played for Missouri from 1988-91. His aunt and uncle, Lori and Mike Sandbothe, also played basketball for the Tigers.
Rated as a three-star recruit, Braun played AAU basketball for MoKan Elite alongside Tigers rising sophomore Jontay Porter. Porter announced he was returning to Missouri on Wednesday after considering the NBA Draft.
Braun had scholarship offers from LSU, Nebraska and Illinois. He took an official visit to Nebraska this past weekend and had previously taken visits to LSU and Illinois.
"Playing with Jontay, they've kind of always been there," Braun told The Star about the Tigers. "I took all those visits and weighed some options and they stuck out for me."
He said his family knows Missouri women's basketball star Sophie Cunningham and her family very well.
“He has a deep connection through Missouri with his mother and uncle,” Blue Valley Northwest coach Ed Fritz told The Star. “That’s probably where his heart was at.”
The plan is for Braun to be a walk-on this upcoming season and then go on scholarship his sophomore year. Braun told The Star he's not sure whether he will redshirt next season and thinks that will be determined once he gets on campus; he still has to enroll in classes.
Tigers assistant coach Michael Porter Sr. took in a few of Braun’s games this past season, as the 6-foot-9 forward led his team to its second consecutive state title. Blue Valley Northwest also had a 17-game winning streak at one point in the season. Braun said that Porter Sr. and Martin were the main coaches he dealt with throughout his recruitment.
While listed at 6-7, Braun measured at 6-foot-9 on his official visit to Nebraska, according to Fritz, and might not be done growing.
Fritz said Braun’s ball handling and body will need to improve for him to succeed at the college level, but isn’t really concerned about either trait because of his work ethic. Braun said he's been compared to Houston Rockets sharpshooter Ryan Anderson throughout his career.
“He’s a really good finisher around the basket,” Fritz said. “He shot 78 percent from the field last year. Great jumper, has great timing. Really good on the defensive end of the floor.”
Braun’s younger brother Christian is a 2019 recruit at the point guard position and could also jump on Missouri’s radar. Porter’s return used Missouri's last scholarship, but the Tigers could still pursue 2018 Grandview point guard Jordan Lathon, who opened up his recruitment after being a longtime Northwestern pledge.
Braun was also an AAU teammate of Malik Hall, a high Missouri priority in the 2019 class. Hall has had a breakout spring, but Braun said he might be able to influence his recruitment a little bit.
"I definitely can," he said. "I don't think I'll push it too hard but I'll be in his ear a little bit."