Austin continuing to improve

Paris Austin is playing the best basketball of his career entering his senior season. Before he gets there, he has some official visits to take.

Over the last couple of years, not too many players on the West Coast have made the consistent strides in their development like Paris Austin.

The 5-foot-11, 155-pound 2015 point guard from Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd has improved from a borderline D-I prospect as a sophomore to one of the top prospects at his position in his class on the West Coast.

A pure point guard that is equally comfortable in halfcourt and transition settings, Austin had a statement performance on Sunday at the NorCal Clash, a Bay Area all-star game pitting top local 2015 and 2016 prospects against each other.

Austin had 18 points, 8 assists and 8 rebounds in the game, taking home the event's MVP award.

"Coming into Sunday, being one of the older guys I took it upon myself to do everything to get MVP," Austin said. "I didn't even think about points, I automatically thought about the other things - rebounds, assists, steals - anything I could do because I already knew I could score.

"A lot of people from the Bay were going to be at that game and a lot of people think (2016 point guard) Jordan Ford is really good and I think he's good too. But I took it upon myself to win that matchup. It's nothing against him, it's just me proving myself. That's my demeanor heading into my senior year."

Not too many players in Austin's class out west have shown the same steady improvement that he has, which usually screams of a kid's work ethic

"My dad and my coaches have helped me build confidence by working me and out and getting my better," he said. "I'm learning and always trying to get better. I've spent countless hours in the gym and trying to stay focused, doing everything I can to improve.

"For me, it's difficult because I don't want to be strong at one thing, I want to be strong at everything so I'm trying to work on my weaknesses all the time."

As Austin has improved his game, his confidence has grown, something that was clear on Sunday when he played with a chip on his shoulder.

"Confidence is something you have to grow on your own but it also comes with having the heart, watching a lot of basketball, studying the game and seeing different things I can do on the court," Austin said. "All of that stuff has helped my confidence."

So far Austin has been able to set up two official visits - he'll go to Boise State on Sept. 6 and Montana on Sept. 12 - while a handful of other schools are still involved.

"Creighton has been talking about me visiting, and so have Pacific and Saint Mary's," said Austin. "California is hanging around and Tennessee said they saw me in Chicago and Las Vegas and want to recruit me, and I'm also hearing from LMU."

Three of the aforementioned schools will get official visits and there's a possibility he'll take two more beyond that.

"I want to take all five visits but I for sure want to visit Boise State, Montana and Saint Mary's," Austin said.

"After those three visits, I'll see what the other schools are still wanting me to visit, but if not, I'll decide between those three schools. I feel like all three want me badly and that with each of them, I couldn't go wrong."

Austin will enter the visits with the hopes of being able to find a home before signing day in November.

"I'm probably going to make a fall decision but if it has to be a spring decision I'll do that," he said. "I'm not the highest ranked player and coaches have other guys they're looking at, so I need to choose the school that's right for me."

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