Baylor freshman Isaiah Austin was one of the top high school players in the country coming into this season and committed to play for Scott Drew. He had big shoes to fill in the Bears frontcourt with the departure of Perry Jones and Quincy Acy. So far, he has lived up to expectations. To this point in the season, Austin is putting up nearly a double-double every night with 14.1 points and 9.6 rebounds. He had a several exceptional efforts during the early part of the season, 22 points in his debut against Lehigh and 23 points and 17 rebounds in a win over Lamar. Austin logged 20 points, eight rebounds, two assists and a block in a matchup with Gonzaga, showing he is capable of stepping up in prime time games.
Austin has done a solid job in conference play, even though his scoring has tailed off of late. He had a monstrous effort with 19 points and 20 rebounds in a loss to Oklahoma. In that game, he battled with Romero Osby and Amath M’Baye.
Austin possesses great size, length, and athleticism. He is listed at 7’1” and 220 pounds. He is an intimidating presence on the defensive end because of his length and ability to defend and contest on the perimeter as well as in the post. He currently lacks the upper body strength and size to battle in the post with stronger post players, but you have to believe he is working diligently to add strength to his frame. In conference play, Austin has become a great shot blocker, averaging nearly two blocks per game through nine conference games so far. Even though Baylor has been enigmatic for much of the season, Austin is doing his part to help the Bears return to the NCAA tournament.
Austin has a nice inside-outside game. He has shooting range to the 3 point line, but can also put the ball on the floor and drive from the perimeter with his quick first step which is a mismatch for most of his defenders. He’s shown some nice post moves and footwork, but must be able to absorb contact better so that he can finish near the rim against stronger, more physical post defenders.
Austin’s presence and impact have been huge for the Bears, and many NBA scouts are taking notice. He is rated as one of the top front court players in his class, and one of the top big men in the upcoming draft class. It appears that Austin will be a lottery pick in what is supposed to be a deep 2013 NBA draft for power forwards and centers.
Amit Tailor is a Scout and Correspondent for NetScouts Basketball. and covers the Big 12.