Posted On: 11/18/18 6:13 PM

TOPEKA — A four-year varsity regular at Topeka Hayden, 2019 guard Levi Braun is looking to take on an even bigger role as a senior after helping the Wildcats to a 4A state championship last season.

Braun says he has gotten bigger, stronger and more athletic since first appearing on the varsity as a ninth-grader four years ago, and has improved his ball handling and playmaking skills over the years as well.

Hayden will have to replace 2019 standout Zach Harvey who has transferred, as well as several key 2018 graduates. However Braun says the team is entering the season with some confidence after a strong summer that included a 6-2 performance at Kansas State Team Camp in June.

“I’m excited for our team this year, we’ve got some new pieces but we’ve shown we can play with with the best … We won’t be as athletic or flashy as we’ve been the last few years, but we can really shoot it and we move the ball well,” Braun said. “The Centennial League is always tough but we’re gonna have a shot to win a lot of games.”

Braun says he is looking to take on an expanded leadership role this season and expects to play with the ball more in his hands. Last year point guard Jett Canfield and Harvey played with the ball in their hands a lot, and Braun mostly played off the ball.

“I’m gonna have to be a leader this year and improve my numbers in every category,” Braun says. “I’ve been more of a spot up player the last few years but this year I’m gonna have the ball in my hands and have to make plays. I’m gonna have to score a lot, but rebounding and defending are two things I’m really focusing on. Zach and Jett were amazing playmakers and I’m ready to take over that part of the game.”

Braun put together another solid offseason competing with SSA Elite and says the experience has helped prepare him for his senior season and beyond.

“Playing with SSA helped a lot,” he says. “I got to play with a lot of talent around me and got to play against some of the best competition around. I was in a position for four years with them where I got to be a leader and playmaker and it was a lot of fun. They’re a great program and I’m gonna miss playing with them.”

Braun currently holds an offer from hometown Washburn and has also drawn some interest from Division II Rockhurst out of Kansas City.

“That’s pretty much it as of now, but I think I’ll start hearing from some other schools as my senior season gets underway,” Braun says.