Taylor Braun joins Utah Jazz for training camp
One of Newberg's native sons is one step closer to realizing his dream of playing in the NBA, as the Utah Jazz announced last week that it has signed Taylor Braun to a training camp deal.
A Newberg High School and North Dakota State University graduate, Braun joins the Jazz having played the past two seasons with Ratiopharm Ulm of the German Bundesliga.
A 6-foot-7 point guard, Braun made 50 starts for the German club during the 2016-2017 season, averaging 8.0 points, 3.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists in 53 games.
"What an accomplishment for Taylor and it's awesome for Newberg," said Mark Vernon, Braun's head coach at Newberg High School. "It's pretty exciting to think that we might have a player from little old Newberg playing in the NBA."
Under Vernon, Braun helped lead Newberg's rapid rise in high school basketball, leading the Tigers to an appearance in the Class 6A state tournament as a senior in 2008.
Braun was a standout player at North Dakota State, appearing in 116 career games (107 starts), averaging 14.3 points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.9 assists in 30.1 minutes per game.
He led the Bison to the NCAA tournament and was named the Summit League Player of the Year and AP honorable mention in 2014 after averaging a league-leading 17.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.3 steals per game.
That included the program's only win in the NCAA tournament, an 80-75 upset over Oklahoma. Braun was one of just four NCAA Division I players to lead his team in points scored, rebounds and assists that season.
Braun signed his first pro contract with Belgium franchise Okapi Aalstar in 2014. Braun has played in the NBA summer league for the Phoenix Suns (2014) and the Orlando Magic (2015), but this will be his first NBA training camp.
Terms of the deal were not released, but NBA teams can sign up to 20 players during training camp and must carry a minimum of 14 players at all times during the season.
The NBA also introduced two-way deals that will make it easier for players to switch from playing with a franchise's G-League outfit and its major league team, but they are limited to two per team.
The move could be a precursor to Braun joining Utah's affiliate, the Salt Lake City Stars.
"He deserves it," Vernon said. "He's worked very, very hard and he really has a skill set that fits the NBA. He's a 6-7 point guard that can really bring the ball up the court fast. He's very aggressive to the basket and can finish. He's a willing passer. He has a lot of skills that the NBA likes."