Isaiah Austin, a 7 foot center, smartly decided to come back to Baylor instead of entering the NBA draft. He was one the best freshman centers in the NCAA this year. If he entered the draft, he will be projected to be a mid to late 1st round pick.
Austin, from Arlington, Texas, was a highly recruited prospect, who was ranked 4th in the nation in the class of 2012 according to Rivals.
In Austin’s first season, he averaged 13 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game. He only had a 45.9% field goal percentage. The field goal percentage can definitely be improved on next year. He needs to add bulk to improve his inside presence as he usually got outmuscled by other centers. Right now, he is mostly a jump shooter and a shot blocker.
In the Big 12 Tournament, Austin only played 14 minutes, and did not make a single field goal against Oklahoma State, ranked number 14 according to the Coaches’ poll at that time.
During his play in the NIT (The National Invitational Tournament), Austin averaged 12 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 2 blocks per game. He helped Baylor win their first NIT championship ever by defeating Iowa 74-54 in Madison Square Garden.
Although Pierre Jackson and A.J. Walton, who are both guards, are graduating this year, Austin will attempt to carry Baylor to the NCAA tournament next year with the help of Cory Jefferson and Brady Heslip.