2014 Darius Austin Is Improving His Game

Basketball prospects who didn't receive an offer from the previous UI basketball staff have an opportunity to impress the new coaching staff. Fighting Illini coach John Groce and his staff seek players who fit their system, and athletes like Darius Austin have a chance to prove themselves all over again. Austin's game is improving.

Darius Austin is a personable 6'-5" combo guard with excellent offensive skills. He gets most of his points on drives to the basket, but he is improving other parts of his game.

"My game is really progressing as I become older. I still want to work on my ball handling skills and getting more assists. But right now my shot is coming along, and I'm getting my teammates involved in the offense."

Now an upcoming junior, Austin's eyes light up when he has the ball in his hands. He is transformed into an aggressive, quick attacker who can find the rim with consistency. He has been accused of being less interested without the ball.

"Yeah, my coach told me that all the time. I'm trying to play with more energy on both ends of the floor."

The Cahokia product lists other parts of his game that have shown improvement.

"My midrange game and then just being a more vocal leader. That's really helped progress my game."

He jumps center for the Southwest Jets 16 and Under AAU team due to a lack of post players.

"I'm used to it by now. But I still think point guard is my best position."

With Peyton Allen and Darreon Reddick among his teammates, Austin feels the Jets can go far this summer.

"I think we can be one of the top teams in the nation this year. We've got to finish it together though."

Austin helped Cahokia enjoy one of its best seasons last winter.

"We finished good. We were the first team to ever win our conference. We won a Christmas tournament for the second time in our school's history. We finished 23-8 and lost the regional championship to East St. Louis."

Austin has long shown a partiality toward Illinois. He hopes to make a good impression with new head coach John Groce and his staff.

"I haven't met them, but I have talked to them. I don't know too much about them, but they seem like excellent coaches. They led Ohio to the Sweet 16."

With offers from DePaul and St. Louis, Austin has higher aspirations. He lists several schools at the top of his wish list.

"Illinois, Cincinnati, Michigan, Iowa, Butler, Xavier, and Iowa."

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