Friar Basketball

15 in 40: #9 Austin: The New PC Prototype


Gone are the days of the 5’7 point guard playing alongside the 6’5 center. There will be exceptions for the exceptional, as is the case with undersized, all-league off-guard Bryce Cotton, but the Friars are growing across the board – and Brandon Austin is the prototype.

Listed at 6’6, but looking even longer, Austin isn’t just lengthy, he’s talented.

The freshman was ranked in the 40s by every major publication, but ESPN, which wasn’t far behind at 56.

While at Imhotep Charter School, he won three consecutive state titles and was named Pennsylvania’s Player of the Year by the Philadelphia Inquirer last spring.

Former head ESPN recruiting guru, turned San Antonio Spurs scout, Dave Telep said in March that he believes Austin will be the freshman most likely to surprise this season – not in the Big East, but the entire country.

CBS’s Jon Rothstein insists Austin will be the Big East Rookie of the Year this season.

The good news for Providence? They have a player of Austin’s upside joining an already formidable returning core in 2013-14.

Better news? If Austin isn’t the nation’s surprise freshman, the Big East’s best rookie, or a starter on opening night, the Friars have plenty to fall back on.

And while Cooley’s recruiting ability is changing the way that this roster looks physically, the depth he’s created has also erased the need for a freshman to come in and be the savior – a role that hardly any freshman has been able to fill at Providence.

Friartown can hardly be blamed for following the lead of the Teleps and Rothsteins of the world – neutral reporters who rave about Austin’s game. There is a lot to like.

He’s capable of playing two positions, potentially three if Cooley and company feel comfortable enough with him occasionally bringing the ball across halfcourt.

And he does a little bit of everything well – with a lull-you-to-sleep handle, better than average passing ability, comfort scoring in the lane, and occasionally knocking down a three point shot.

When I saw Austin on a snowy weekend last December, Imhotep stepped up a weight class and took on powerhouse Chester – a team riding a 50+ game winning streak in Pennsylvania and featuring McDonald’s All American Ronde Jefferson.

Austin was what he can be expected to be as a freshman in Providence. He was oftentimes thrilling in making plays in the paint, he barely grazed the rim on each of his free throw attempts, he passed well and hit a pair of three pointers in leading Imhotep to a near upset (they fell in the closing seconds – read my recap here).

As any freshman season promises to be, it wasn’t all pretty either, with turnovers and some badly missed shots thrown in among the highlights. The reel I created from that game was intended to show both the highs and lows of that night (a thrilling game – best watched in full screen).

Austin certainly has oodles of potential, and he’s one of a group of three or four Friars with the potential to turn what many believe to be a bubble team into so much more.

What multi-positional players like Austin, Kris Dunn and Tyler Harris give Cooley are the types he had coached as an assistant at Boston College – players who can beat you in a multitude of ways. And it’s these versatile types that could well be the difference between the bubble and a top three finish in the Big East.

They are the new prototype in Providence.

Austin won’t have to be The Man from day 1, but he could be the man that makes the difference in 2013-14.


What are your expectations for Brandon Austin’s freshman season? Talk about it here. 


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