Baylor’s Dwight Howard: Isaiah Austin
Words. Lucas Shapiro
With big men nowadays, you are either a Dwight Howard (someone who focuses on blocking shots and grabbing rebounds) or an Andrea Bargnani (someone who can step outside to shoot and present mismatch issues on offense). It is rare that you can find a mix between these two. That is why Isaiah Austin, a 7-foot, 200-pound rising senior at Grace Preparatory Academy (Arlington, Texas) could become a special player.
Etop Udo-Ema, Austin’s AAU coach with the Compton Magic, still recalls a time when he saw the soon-to-be superstar. At the time, Isaiah was only in middle school and stood at 6-3. The next year, Udo-Ema ran into him again and he was standing at 6-10.
“You’ve got to realize, this kid has serious genes,” says Udo-Ema. “His dad, Alex Austin, is 6-8 and played at Arizona State and holds many records there. He played a little bit in the NBA and overseas. His grandfather, who recently passed away, was 6-11 and 320 pounds. His uncle is Ike Austin, who played a long career in the NBA, and is 6-11 and 300 pounds. They’ve got crazy genes in the Austin family.”
Before the growth spurt, Austin was a guard. After the growth spurt, he has still retained his guard skills, but averaged 14 points, nine rebounds and six blocks per game leading the Lions to a TAPPS Class 4A title.
“His skill set is ridiculous,” adds Udo-Ema. “I don’t think there has ever been a guy with that kind of size and those kind of skills. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen him dribble the ball down the court and make little guards fall. You can see those clips on YouTube, they’re real.”