Thursday, August 1, 2013
Tennessee lands ESPN 100 PG Austin
By Reggie Rankin
ESPN 100 point guard Larry Austin (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) committed to Tennessee on Thursday over offers from Bradley, DePaul, Iowa, Kansas State, Missouri, SMU and Oklahoma State, among others.
Austin, the No. 68 overall prospect in the ESPN 100, is a great get and a great fit for Tennessee coach Cuonzo Martin in what is already an impressive recruiting class that is now ranked No. 7 in the country.
ESPN 100 PG Larry Austin was a priority recruit for Tennessee.
Austin is the Vols’ first ESPN 100 prospect in the 2014 class, but Tennessee also has commitments from four-star power forward Phil Cofer (Atlanta/Whitewater) and four-star shooting guard Jordan Cornish (New Orleans/Brother Martin). Cofer will bring rebounding, shot-blocking and finishing at the rim, while Cornish adds shooting. And now they have a lead guard in Austin who can get them the ball.
So why did Austin pick Tennessee and what will he bring to the Vols?
"I thought Tennessee was a great fit,” he said. “I like the SEC and the fact that I can get up and down the floor there.
"Coach Martin and the coaching staff treated me great and they are planning on me to come in and play right away,” he added.
At 6-foot-1, 160 pounds, Austin is a true blue-collar point guard who plays with great energy and urgency on both ends of the floor. He pushes the ball on the break with a quick-hitting advance pass or off the dribble as he applies constant pressure to the transition defense. He is always a threat to get to the rim or drop off a pass for an easy bucket.
In the half-court, Austin can set the offense and is a very good facilitator. On end-of-clock situations he can create or find the open man when the play breaks down. Austin can also make the open midrange shot with time and space.
Defensively, he can set the tone for the team with his ability to pressure the ball with excellent lateral foot speed, quick hands and an aggressive approach. Away from the ball Austin is also excellent at anticipating the next pass. He can sniff out a point-to-wing or wing-to-post pass, get the steal and turn it into a layup.
With Austin on board, Martin will have excellent facilitator to direct the Vols’ motion offense, which is characterized by great spacing, driving lanes and screening actions. Austin plays in attack mode off the bounce and will force help defense and make the right decision as he probes the defensive gaps.
In Tennessee’s pressure man defense, expect Austin to pick up full court, put relentless pressure on the ball and shoot the gap for steals away from the ball.
The Vols have done an excellent job identifying and prioritizing their roster needs and they now have three talented young men headed to Knoxville in the 2014 class.