By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – About a month ago, Even Brauns’ life changed dramatically, even though it didn’t really change.
He still attends Regina High School and hangs out with his friends and loves playing basketball.
But something has changed, and it happened the day Brauns received a scholarship offer to play basketball for Northern Iowa.
The 6-foot-9 sophomore center didn’t make a verbal commitment, but Brauns will forever cherish the offer because it serves as affirmation that his talent and hard work are paying dividends and helping to shape his future. It also removes some of the pressure knowing that at least one Division I school already thinks enough of Brauns to have offered a scholarship
“Oh, man, that was such a blessing,” Brauns said. “A lot of weight was taking off with the offer. So now I can really focus on just getting better and focus on my team getting wins this season.”
Brauns is just getting started with the recruiting process and is excited and curious to see where the journey will take him.
Part of his excitement also comes from hearing from the Iowa coaches on a somewhat regular basis. Iowa coach Fran McCaffery hasn’t offered Brauns a scholarship, but there is mutual interest.
“They’re just telling me to work on my skills,” Brauns said of the Iowa coaches. “They’re interested in me. They just keep telling me to refine my craft.”
Brauns is in no hurry to make any decisions about college. He just played the season opener to his sophomore season on Tuesday, scoring 20 points.
“I’m 15, so I’ve got plenty of time to figure out where I’m going,” Brauns said.
Brauns experienced first-hand with the Northern Iowa offer just how quickly the recruiting process can unfold. He worked out twice for the Northern Iowa coaches over a two-week period and then an offer came the following week.
“It was a really fast process,” Brauns said.
Jared Galpin is in his first season as the Regina head coach after being a long-time assistant on the Regina staff.
Galpin doesn’t have to be reminded of his good fortune. He has the luxury of building his program around a multi-talented 6-9 sophomore center who has Division I potential.
“The more confidence that kid gets, the better and better he’s going to continue to get and the more dominant he’s going to get,” Galpin said. “He’s something you can’t coach. You can’t coach six-nine. You can’t coach his athleticism. The guys get excited for him with him making plays and they want him to make plays and to get him the ball to make plays.”
Galpin spent 10 seasons as a Regina assistant before being promoted to head coach in May. He also was the head boys basketball coach at Paton-Churdan High School from 2004 to 2006 and was an assistant for Cedar Rapids Jefferson and Jefferson-Scranton.
So Galpin has coached a lot of high school players, but with Brauns, he has something unique.
“It’s the first time in my experience talking to Division I coaches and things like, and meeting them,” Galpin said. “I’m excited for Even. He has a tremendous opportunity. He’s very excited with the (Northern Iowa) offer being the first one. He’s very thrilled about that.
"But as I try to relate to him, now that you’ve got that offer, that should make you hungrier and want to keep on pushing to get better.”