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Isaiah Austin Has Memorable NBA Draft Night
June 27, 2014
Wendell Barnhouse is a nationally-known and respected columnist who has spent over 20 years covering collegiate athletics. He has reported from 25 Final Fours and more than three dozen bowl games and has written about the Big 12 and its schools since the conference's beginning. Barnhouse will be updating the Big 12 Insider on happenings and behind-the-scenes information about the conference.

Big-time college and professional sports tend to foster cynics like weeds in a vacant lot. The legal challenges, the money, the contracts and the “scandals” are just some of the factors that obscure the fact humanity does exist in the world of “perspiring arts” (shout out to the great Blackie Sherrod for that term).

Thursday night’s NBA Draft was celebratory for the Big 12 – three of the first six selections were from the conference and five players were selected … or six if you count the best moment.

Baylor’s Isaiah Austin had his dream of playing in the NBA end when it was discovered he had Marfan syndrome – a potentially fatal disease for those who exert themselves in a game like basketball. He was already playing without vision in one eye because of a detached retina but giving up his professional career before it even started was an emotional gut punch.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver invited Austin and his family to attend the draft. At the midway point of the first round, Silver recognized Austin, who received a standing ovation from the fans gathered at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Then this happened. Silver turned into a surprise party with his announcement. Matt Norlander of goes in-depth with this story that details Austin’s experience at the draft.

Austin, who got a shout out from Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart earlier in the evening, has impressed everyone with how he is turning a negative into a positive. The NBA deserves high praise for the thoughtful gesture and the opportunity of employment once Austin finishes his business degree.

And Friday morning on Twitter, the NBA Draft pick that was trending? Isaiah Austin.



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