Two weeks ago USF head basketball coach Stan Heath made a big splash in landing two big time JUCO prospects with one of them being Palm Beach State big man Waverly Austin. The 6-foot-10 center was considered one of the top junior college prospects in the country and he discusses more about why he chose to play for the Bulls.
"Now that I had time to think about it, I'm even happier with my decision," said Austin. "It was all about the relationship with the coaching staff. I committed to them originally out of high school and they stayed on me the whole time and showed me a lot of love. I really feel like the coaches and players are very tight and they're like a family there. Not to mention they also got fantastic new facilities, and that's really going to help them across the board."
"They got a commitment from my man Musa (Abdul-Aleem), who's one of the best guards in the country," said Waverly. "I really feel that USF is going to be coming up big time next year. With me and Musa, and all the other great players they have coming up, I think we're going to turn the program around."
As a freshman at Palm Beach State, Austin averaged 18 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks per game this year while shooting 59 percent from the field and 82 percent from the free throw line and was one of the most sought after JUCO post players in the 2012 class, with heavy interest from top programs all over the country.
"I narrowed it down to a top three but then North Carolina really started to recruit me hard at the end so it was down to USF, North Carolina, Kansas, and Miami," said Austin, but the Bulls had to many intangibles to offer. "I wanted a school that I had a relationship with and I'm already very comfortable with the whole area, the coaches and the players, and feel that because of that I'm going to be able to contribute right away, and help them get to that next level."
Austin was a highly regarded high school post player and actually signed a letter of intent with the Bulls in 2009, but had to take the JUCO route. Since then USF has gone under a lot of changes, and Austin likes the direction the hoops program is taking as well as USF's commitment to all sports.
"The biggest thing is how much they've done with all of their facilities. I've visited a lot of programs, Miami, Georgetown, Maryland and USF's new basketball facilities are truly awesome and top of the line, and are better than the others I seen," said Austin. ‘I got to play a few pick-up games in the new basketball facilities and that was really nice and beautiful. I didn't know it would be that big, it's the nicest I've ever played in. I saw what the new arean is going to look like, and it's going to be incredible too."
"It's not just in basketball though, they redid their facilities for all their sports, with new stadiums for baseball, softball, soccer, new football fields, and a dining hall," said Austin. "It all looks completely different, and it looks great."
Another big factor for Austin was the comfort level he felt with Coach Heath and the entire coaching staff.
"I talk to all of them regularly, and like I said I feel very comfortable with them as a staff," said Waverly. "Since I had a prior relationship, it just grew and I feel like Coach Heath and all of them are just great and will help me reach my goals as a player, and help me develop into being this best I can be."
Another big selling point for Waverly was simply the locale of USF.
"The campus is great and I really love Tampa, it's a beautiful city and there's is always a lot going on," said Austin. "When I went to the football game a lot of fans showed me a lot of love, and they were pumped up. I remember the same feeling when I was there when they beat West Virginia."
Austin is excited for his future as a Bull and his last year with Palm Beach State.
"The more I think about it, the more excited I am with my decision," said Austin. "Now I can concentrate on school and focus on my season. I want to win a championship with my team and then move on to greater things at USF."Click here for more info or to share your thoughts with other USF fans-- get the inside scoop!