Isaiah Austin To Forgo Remaining Eligibility, Declares For 2014 NBA Draft

Jeff Gross

Baylor center Isaiah Austin made it official today, announcing that he will leave the school after his sophomore year for the NBA.

As most in Baylor circles expected, Isaiah Austin announced today that he will declare for the NBA draft where he is currently projected to be a mid-to-late second round pick. This is off the heels of a solid NCAA tournament where he averaged 14 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.6 blocks per game during the Bears' three game run. He was 11.2, 5.5 and 3.1 on the year, respectively. Austin will obviously be supported in his future endeavors, though Baylor will be sad to see him go. Here is to hoping that a good workout will help him land a spot on a roster (as that is not a guarantee in the second round), following the path Quincy Miller has traveled in his own NBA career thus far (Miller, who struggled early, is now playing consistently and well for the Denver Nuggets).

While he has not looked the part at times, Austin is a former projected lottery pick who stands 7 feet tall and can knock it down from outside. The fact that he has fallen so far on the mock boards is not entirely due to a lack of court production as it may seem, but is also in large part due to the amount of talent in this class. The 2014 NBA draft is considered by most to be the deepest draft in a long, long while. The top is crowded and forcing many skilled players to slide not just out of the lottery, but into the second round. Austin being slated so late is a huge testament to that. Draft Express has him going to the Milwaukee Bucks with the 36th pick, Chad Ford ($) believes he is the 59th best prospect (though there are several still on this list ahead of him that have already said they are staying in college), and the general consensus seems to place him right in the middle of that second round depending on team needs.

Now from our perspective, this drastically alters the make-up of the 2014-2015 Baylor Bears after also losing Cory Jefferson to graduation. As it stands, the only player back next year for the Bears that has spent time at the 4/5 position consistently is Rico Gathers and for the first time we might soon see what a small-ball lineup under Scott Drew would look like.That is, if do not see any transfers.

Last May we saw a few of our own transfer out and others pick them up, so do not be surprised to see if we become the benefactor of a major transfer this time around - particularly if they play power forward or center. There are several names already floating out there that I am sure will be discussed in the comments, but I will leave that speculation absent here.

As everything stands now, we will enter the 2014-2015 basketball season with the inverse question mark from last year: "How will the front court hold up?"  Below is our roster sans-Austin and without any additional transfers at this moment:

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Yr. Exp. Hometown/High School/Last College
--
Dimayne Durham
SG 6-4 175 FR HS Oakwood, Texas/Oakwood HS
-- T.J. Maston
PF 6-7 225 FR HS DeSoto, Texas/DeSoto HS
-- Kobie Eubanks
SG/SF 6-5 215 FR HS Fort Lauderdale, Florida/Our Savior New American School (Centereach, NY)
25 Allerik Freeman PG/SG 6-3 200 RS-FR RS Charlotte, N.C./Findlay Prep [Nev.]
24 Ish Wainright G/F 6-5 245 SO HS Kansas City, Mo./Montrose Christian [Md.]
12 Johnathan Motley PF 6-9 210 RS-FR RS Houston, Texas/North Shore HS
15 Chad Rykhoek F/C 6-11 230 SO ? Fort Worth, Texas/Fort Worth Christian HS
-- Lester Medford
PG 5-11 185 JR TR Indian Hills CC
13 John Heard F 6-5 200 JR 1L Houston, Texas/Episcopal HS
35 Taurean Prince SF 6-7 210 JR 2L San Antonio, Texas/Earl Warren HS
2 Rico Gathers Beast 6-8 270 JR 2L LaPlace, La./Riverside Academy
1 Kenny Chery PG 5-11 180 SR 1L Montreal, Quebec/Archbishop Carroll HS [D.C]/State Fair CC
20 Logan Lowery F 6-6 190 SR 2L Kingwood, Texas/Kingwood HS/Centenary
00 Royce O'Neale SF 6-6 220 SR TR Killeen, Texas/Harker Heights HS/Denver
55 Josh Clemons C 6-8 230 SR TR Jacksonville, Fla./Ohio County HS [Ky.]/Motlow State CC

And that is my question to you. Sic 'Em and good luck Isaiah!

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