A former McDonald's High School All-American by way of York, Ala., Austin ranked eighth in the SEC in scoring (16.1 ppg), fifth in rebounding (7.6 rpg) and second in field-goal percentage (55.7%) en route to earning second-team all-SEC honors this past season as a sophomore. The 6-9, 260-pound frontcourt performer garnered SEC Tournament MVP accolades after helping lead the 27-8 Bulldogs to MSU's second league tournament title in school history and a second round appearance in this year's NCAA Tournament.
A strong candidate for pre-season honors next season, Austin's decision to return pleased Coach Stansbury. "We're extremely happy about Mario's decision to return to school next season and not pursue his professional career at this particular point of his life," Stansbury added. "He's a tremendous talent and an even better person, which says a lot about him as an individual to realize the fact that he does have areas in which he can develop his game to further enhance his status at the professional level."
Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet. The URL for Gene's Page is http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com. You can contact him by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.