Metro parents head to Indianapolis to watch sons play for KU, MU in NCAA Tournament


OVERLAND PARK, Kan. — Plenty of Kansas City metro families are divided when it comes to rooting for Kansas or Missouri sports. But for the Braun family, it’s generational.

And this weekend, they’ll be cheering for both teams in one weekend.

“I’m super proud,” Donny Braun said. “We’ve made a lot of jokes like this over the years, but one of the main reasons we got married was to have babies and have basketball players.”

“Well that’s not why I got married!” his wife Lisa Braun said with a smile.

“There was some love in there! But this was a culmination of a lot of hopes and dreams,” Donny added.

It’s been a busy time for the Brauns. Now as the NCAA Tournament kicks off, they’ve got at least two games to watch in Indianapolis.

Their son Parker Braun is a redshirt sophomore forward for Missouri basketball. Younger brother Christian Braun is a sophomore guard for Kansas. Both teams earned bids to March Madness, which will be held entirely in Indianapolis this year, a bonus for mom and dad.

Kansas’ Christian Braun goes up for a dunk during the first half of the team’s NCAA college basketball game against Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., Tuesday, Jan. 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Mitch Alcala)

“Really excited that they’re in the same town, got a place downtown and it’s a perk playing at separate times,” Lisa said.

“We don’t get to see each other, but it’s awesome that he gets to play and I get to play and my parents get to come and watch, so we’re real excited for our first NCAA Tournament,” Christian said.

Christian’s Jayhawks play Eastern Washington at 12:15 p.m. Saturday. Parker and the Tigers play Oklahoma just hours later at 6:45 p.m.

“We’ll have to do a wardrobe change this Saturday,” Lisa said.

But it’s a joy for the Brauns to watch their sons play in the Big Dance.

“They’re hard workers,” Donny said of Parker and Christian, both Blue Valley Northwest grads. “They know the game. They were well brought up. They’ve had great coaching along the way. I think they’ll keep getting better.”

Missouri’s Parker Braun, left, tries to block the shot of LSU’s Eric Gaines, right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 6, 2021, in Columbia, Mo. (AP Photo/L.G. Patterson)

“They’ve got high basketball IQs,” Lisa added.

Some of that basketball knowledge comes from their parents since Christian and Parker come from a basketball family. Lisa was an All-Big 8 Conference player at Mizzou, and Donny played at KU and Saint Louis University. But these metro parents are OK with supporting their rival schools now.

“It’s hard not to appreciate good basketball, like Kansas always had a great program,” Lisa said.

Donny said he’s more than OK with putting on some black and gold to cheer on his son.

“Absolutely. We’re parents. We love ’em,” he said.

If Kansas and Missouri advance, there is the chance these two brothers could play in the Elite 8. So if it happened, who do mom and dad think would win?

“We’d pick them differently depending on the time of year that they played,” Lisa said diplomatically.

But college rivalries aside, Lisa and Donny never got the opportunity to play in the NCAA Tournament. Now with both their boys getting ready for their first taste of March Madness, they’re excited to enjoy the weekend in Indianapolis.

“We’re blessed with two great kids because we’re very proud of who they are as people, just as much as we are as ballplayers,” Lisa said. “So they’re great kids.”

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