Just over two years ago, Isaiah Austin’s dream of playing in the NBA was cut short after he was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome. As his foundation says, today Isaiah Austin can dream again. Austin announced he has been cleared to return and will chase his dream of playing in the NBA.
Former Baylor star Isaiah Austin announces he's been medically cleared to play basketball again pic.twitter.com/LRkJ5ZlMvm— FootBasket.com (@FootBasket) November 30, 2016
Austin entered the NBA draft after his sophomore season at Baylor. But Austin was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a condition that affects connective tissue. In Austin’s case, doctors were concerned about his heart and how well it would hold up with the strenuous activity of professional basketball. When Austin thought his playing days were over, the NBA honored Austin by selecting him between the 15th and 16th picks in the draft.
Despite his setback, Austin continued to help others. Through Isaiah Austin Foundation, Austin has encouraged others to attain their dreams.
Austin began his career at Baylor as one of the biggest recruiting victories in the Scott Drew era. The 7’1 big man had excellent range and was a force near the basket on both offense and defense.
After injuring his shoulder while he prepared to enter the NBA draft following his freshman season, Austin returned to school and led the Bears to a Sweet 16 run in 2014. The Bears run included a 30 point victory over higher-seeded Creighton.
Austin was named to the All-Big 12 defensive team in 2014. Austin was a prolific shot blocker, as evidenced here:
Austin also helped set up his teammates. In one of the most memorable plays in Baylor basketball history, against Kansas State, Austin made a huge pass to Brady Heslip. Heslip hit a three as time expired to force overtime. The pass helped the Bears win that game and complete a 7-1 finish to the Big 12 slate after the Bears started the season 2-8 in conference. This play is just spectacular:
Austin also has good range. As a result of suffering form Marfan Syndrome, Austin only has vision in one eye. And as mentioned, he’s 7’1. But he hits threes:
Austin has a tough task ahead of him to make it in professional basketball. Though those that doubt him might want to check out his story before assuming someone that hasn’t played organized basketball in two seasons can’t do it. They don’t have a lot of 7’1 guys who can’t hit 3s and move like Austin. And they don’t have a lot of guys who create a foundation in college, or who are as determined as Isaiah Austin.