Three years after being told he could never play competitive basketball again, former Baylor men’s basketball star Isaiah Austin has defied the odds and scored his first points in a live game since the last time he wore a Bears uniform in 2014.
Austin was a center for Baylor for two years from 2012-14 and averaged 12.4 points and 6.9 rebounds per game. He was projected to be a first round pick in the 2014 NBA Draft before being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a genetic abnormality in his heart that – at the time – put an end to his dreams of playing professionally.
But Austin never gave up on his aspirations and after countless checkups, he was cleared by doctors in December to return to the game he loved.
That dream became a reality Sunday afternoon in his debut for FMP Belgrade, a Serbian professional basketball team in ABA Liga.
With time winding down in the opening quarter, Austin found the back of the net for the first time since his 10-point outing in the 2014 Elite Eight against Wisconsin. The basket came on a teammate’s miss from 3-point range, which he rebounded and put in for the follow-up score.
Adding to the feel-good nature of Austin’s comeback, the 23-year-old proudly sported No. 34 on the back of his jersey, a tribute to former Baylor teammate Corey Jefferson, who wore No. 34 in college.
This how I woke up this morning knowing tonight is my first game back in almost 3 years! … https://t.co/fhBc10Tfpz— Isaiah Austin (@IsaiahAustin) January 15, 2017
When Jefferson entered the NBA in 2014, he chose to wear No. 21 for the Brooklyn Nets to honor Austin and his former Baylor number.
Austin finished with nine points and four rebounds in 12 minutes of action Sunday, making for a successful debut.