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Juco center Austin picks Bulls

Posted Sep 25, 2011 by Adam Adkins

Updated Sep 25, 2011 at 12:23 AM

USF men’s basketball coach Stan Heath has picked up his second big commitment for the 2012-13 recruiting class this week.

Waverly Austin, a 6-foot-11 center out of Palm Beach State who is rated one of the nation’s top junior college players, gave a verbal commitment to the Bulls on Saturday while on his official visit. Austin had garnered interest from some of the nation’s top programs, including North Carolina and Kansas, but ultimately choose the Bulls because of the relationship he had with Heath and his staff.

USF recruited Austin coming out of high school and convinced him to sign with the program in November 2009. Austin didn’t qualify then, but the Bulls never quit pursuing him.

“I felt like at the end of the day USF, we had a good relationship the last two years, they’ve been recruiting me harder than anyone else,” Austin said. “When I didn’t qualify, they still never gave up. They still contacted me a lot, showed me a lot of love. Basically, they remained loyal to me, so I’m doing the same for them.”

Austin, who averaged 18.2 points, 10.3 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per game last season, certainly will fill a position of need. The Bulls lose seniors Augustus Gilchrist and Ron Anderson Jr. from an already thin frontcourt after this season, but now have Austin and 7-foot-3 center Jordan Omogbehin, who is redshirting, in play for the 2012-13 season.

Austin had a chance to check out USF’s new practice facility, the Muma Center, and said the upgrades certainly were a factor in his decision. “Those facilities are top of the line,” he said. “You’re not going to find anything better than that.”

In the end, however, it was the level of comfort he had with USF and Heath that allowed the Bulls to gain his services.

“I just really love South Florida,” Austin said. “I love (Tampa), it’s a beautiful city. (USF is) a real good academic school. I feel like it’s the best place for me that can help me get to the next level, so long as I put in the hard work and the dedication and stay focused like I am now. I know I had other schools like North Carolina, Kansas, Oklahoma, Missouri, but I feel like this is the best place for me because it’s like family.”

Austin plans to sign with the Bulls during the early period in November. He will have two years of eligibility at USF.

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