March 27, 2014

Isaiah Austin on turning pro: I haven’t even thought about that

Austin not sure if he’ll return for junior season.

Isaiah Austin doesn’t know what his future holds.

The Arlington Grace Prep product and Baylor center came back for a sophomore season in college but doesn’t know yet if he’ll come back for his junior year.

“I haven’t even thought about that,” Austin said after Baylor’s 69-52 loss to Wisconsin in the Sweet 16.

“I’m going to go back and go to my classes and get my grades right. When the time comes for me to make my decision, I’ll make the best decision that God wants me to make.”

Austin is projected as a late-first, early-second round pick if he decides to go pro. His stock has dropped since coming out of Grace Prep as one of the top high school seniors in the country.

Austin began his sophomore year slowly while recovering from off-season shoulder surgery, but finished strong. He scored in double figures in his final seven games, including 12 in the loss to Wisconsin.

Austin, though, said the decision hasn’t been weighing on his mind.

“It’s basketball, it’s not the end of my life,” Austin said. “Even if I go pro, I’m not going to be able to play it for the rest of my life. Just looking forward to getting back into my books and moving forward.”

Where’s the deep ball?

Baylor picked the wrong time to go cold and abandon its 3-point game. The Bears used their perimeter game in pulling away from Creighton in the previous round, but didn’t turn to it against Wisconsin.

They went 1 for 6 from 3-point range in the first half and then 1 for 9 in the second half. In all, they were 2 for 15 for a season-worst 13.3 percent. At one point late in the second half, the Bears were 1 for 12.

“We got a little stagnant on offense and didn’t try to shoot enough 3s,” said senior guard Brady Heslip, who went 1 for 4 from beyond the arc. “And obviously they played pretty good defense because we didn’t get that many 3-point shots up.”

This happened a game after Baylor shot 61.1 percent from 3-point range against Creighton.

“They did a great job just keeping us off the 3,” junior guard Kenny Chery said. “They know we’re a great shooting team and credit to them they did a great job just continain us and making every shot difficult.”

Wisconsin, on the other hand, knocked down 6 of 16 three-pointers with most of them being timely.

Upfront showing

Wisconsin has one of the top front courts in the country and it showed in the Sweet 16 victory over Baylor.

Frank Kaminsky had little trouble getting looks inside against Baylor’s zone that featured posts Cory Jefferson and Austin.

Kaminsky proved to be the best player on the court with a game-high 19 points. He led the Wisconsin posts who found little issues against the Bears’ defense.

“They left the middle of the zone open a little bit and we were able to get the ball in there and get some easy baskets to the rim, some easy kickouts for 3s,” Kaminsky said. “We just kind of hammered it into the middle and made some things happen.”

Kaminsky and Nigel Hayes also shut down Baylor’s inside game by slowing Austin and Jefferson in the first half.

Wisconsin won the rebounding battle 39-33 and also had twice as many blocks as Baylor (6-3).


• It marked the first Sweet 16 loss for Baylor coach Scott Drew. His team advanced to the Elite Eight his first two times in 2010 and 2012.
• Baylor’s 52 points matched a season low (lost 69-52 to Kansas on Feb. 4).
• Wisconsin has allowed only 164 points in the tournament so far, an average of 54.7 points a game.

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