CHICAGO -- The first domino has already fallen in the 2012 class, as 7-foot center Isaiah Austin (Mansfield, Texas/Grace Prep Academy) has committed to Baylor at the adidas Nations Global Challenge. The No. 7-ranked player in the class has tremendous size, length, skills and upside.
He chose Baylor over Texas, Kansas, Kentucky, Georgetown, Oklahoma State, Iowa and Arizona.
It's scary when the first thing you mention about a 7-footer is his ballhandling, but that's what sets him apart. He can get to the basket from the wing or the top of the key. Plus, he can hit mid-range jumpers and his size allows him to shoot over any defender. Austin also runs the floor, blocks shots, is a force in transition on both ends and has a good feel for the game.
He needs to get stronger and work on his back-to-the-basket moves, but he is so skilled he can play with another big man. His best days are ahead of him, but he is already a top-five talent in the 2012 class. There isn't a coach in America that wouldn't want to help develop Austin, but that honor goes to coach Scott Drew.
Austin will fit in Baylor's transition game very well and will be a versatile scorer from both inside and out. He will also serve as a basket protector and play side by side with McDonald's All-American power forward Perry Jones, whom Drew landed in 2010.
By landing two elite in-state players in three years, this proves Baylor is making its presence felt in Texas once again.
Reggie Rankin was an assistant coach at seven schools for 13 seasons, most recently at Dayton. He played at Ohio University from 1986-90 and was an All-MAC first-teamer in his senior season.