Isaiah Austin is a seven footer with touch range out to the three-point line and a real knack for blocking shots. His father, Alex, played professionally both in the US and abroad for a decade and now helps youths build confidence, teamwork, and discipline through his A-Train For Youth program. Austin’s uncle, Ike, helped three different NBA teams reach the playoffs and won the NBA’s Most Improved Player Award in 1997. Although he plays for Grace Prep in Arlington, Texas, Isaiah is a Los Angeles native, who plays for the Compton Magic during the AAU season. The rising junior and self-described straight-A student participated this past weekend at the Pangos All-American Camp in Long Beach, California and was selected to the Top 25 Cream of the Crop Game. With the dearth of quality big man and his own significant natural and refined talents, Isaiah will be one of the most coveted prospects in the country over the next two years. After the game, the extraordinarily polite young man spoke with Blue Devil Nation.
Let’s start with recruiting. Who’s coming after you?
The Big Twelve, some of the Pac-Ten and the ACC.
Do you still view this as early?
Yeah, it’s real early. I’m not in any rush.
You played very well today.
Who do you try to model your game on?
He was a very good college player and I know he played for a while in the pros, both here and overseas.
Yeah, he taught me how to post up, how to dribble, and how to play around the rim.
Will he be the person that you primarily seek guidance from, whenever you do decide upon [private] a college?
Yeah, my father and definitely my mother too.
What’s your height and weight right now?
Right now, I’m seven feet tall and about 205 to 210 pounds.
What position do you view yourself as? Center? Power forward?
I think of myself as both. I try to play like a center on defense and use my size to block as many shots as I can and rebound, but, on offense, I try to play to my strengths and since I don’t have the strength, right now, to back every big guy down so I just try to go right around them.
Do you enjoy facing up? You do a lot of it, but I didn’t know if it was more a case of necessity.
Yeah, I normally face up, but, for my high school team, I normally have to post first.
Grace Prep, right?
Now, did you ever play with Nick Russell?
Yes, sir, he went there, but now he’s at K-State. During the summer, when we had teams practicing, I would sometimes play against him or with him as well.
I know they have a reputation for a solid football program as well.
You never played football for them, right?
No, sir, but I do workout with them in the summer just to keep my body in good shape.
Do you lift weights? It looks like you’ve put on some weight from last summer.
Yeah, I’m on a very heavy program actually with my father and..At six o’clock, I get up and go lift. Then, I drink my protein drinks. I come home and eat as much as I can, wait a little, and then go and lift again. That’s my daily schedule.
Away from the court, what would you like the audience to know about you?
That I’m a straight-A student. My mom has pushed my grades since I was very little. If I didn’t have my grades, she probably wouldn’t let me play and come to events like this.
That’s refreshing to hear. Did you have a dream school growing up?
My dream school was UCLA because I used to live right here. I used to live in LA. Yes, sir.
When did you move to Texas?
Well, sir, we actually moved to Minnesota when I was eleven. I spent two years in Minnesota, when my mom got a job out there.
Then, her company transferred her to Texas.
She actually got a different job at a different company with a higher position. Now, we’re actually living in Texas.
How do you feel about moving around to the three different states?
It’s great actually because I’ve gotten to see and experience more cultures.
I would think you’d be very good at meeting new people and making good first impressions. You must be good at making new friends.
Yes, I’ve always been taught by my parents to be respectful to everybody.
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses in your game?
I think my strength is my jumpsuit. My dad taught me to shoot since I was little so I have a very nice touch. I can take people off the dribble and I’m a great shot blocker. I can change a lot of shots too. My weakness is that I really have to get stronger because I know guys will like to bump me round a lot. If I can put some weight on me, that’d be great too.
How did you do personally this past season?
I had about six triple-doubles and thirteen double-doubles. i thought I played really well. I blocked a lot of shots this year.
Texas is obviously a very good state in terms of basketball. How did your team do this past season?
Oh, we went to the Final Four and we lost off of a buzzer beater that I tipped from half court.
Yeah, it was a heartbreaker.
Who beat you?
It was Second Baptist. They..
That’s L.J. Rose’s team. He’s a great point guard.
Yeah, he’s a very nice point guard and person.
Who are you running with on the AAU circuit this year?
The Compton Magic, sir.
Going back to your original answer, who from the ACC is recruiting you?
North Carolina is showing the most interest and Duke has sent some letters, but I’m not sure how interested they are in me.
Well, speaking of Duke, what is your impression of them and, if they were to pursue you, would you be interested in them?
Oh, they’ve sent a couple of letters, but I would definitely love to play for them. Yes, sir, absolutely. They’re great academically and have a tremendous program. I’d definitely be interested in them. Yes, sir.
Well, thank you very much, Isaiah. Good luck to you.
Thank you, sir. [/private]