Visit our new website:

Basketball: Is former NBA prospect Isaiah Austin the answer to Philippines’ naturalised player dilemma?

  • Wed, 13 Sep 2017 00:08

FORMER NBA prospect Isaiah Austin – who three years ago thought his career was over due to a genetic heart disorder – could provide the solution to Philippines’ naturalised player dilemma.

The 7ft 1in centre was a projected first-round pick in 2014 – but was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, which forced him to stop playing.

He was cleared to return to basketball last year – and Philippines is ready to welcome the big man with open arms.

He will play for Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup in China next week in what is being seen as an audition to become Gilas’ next naturalised player.

SEE ALSO: Basketball: Chot Reyes thanks Charles Rhodes for Gilas interest – but will pursue younger naturalised star

Intriguingly, Austin could come up against Andray Blatche – Gilas’ naturalised star since 2014 – if Chooks-to-Go progress in China.

Blatche, whose days in a Gilas vest appear to be over, is representing his club team – Xinjiang Flying Tigers – in Chenzhou.

Austin, a Baylor stalwart, was a McDonald’s All-American in 2012 – the same class as future NBA No 1 pick Anthony Bennett and NBA stars such as Gary Harris, Kris Dunn, Kyle Anderson and Marcus Smart.

He was rated so highly before his diagnosis that, during the 2014 NBA draft, commissioner Adam Silver made a ceremonial pick between the 15th and 16th selections, calling Austin onto the stage – with the centre being given a standing ovation.

He is expected to practice with his new team-mates on Wednesday, ahead of the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, which gets underway on September 22.

National coach Chot Reyes said: “We wanted to take a look at Isaiah Austin, not only his skills and his game, but how he’ll get along with his team-mates.

“We wanted to get a better idea of his attitude, so nothing gives you a glimpse of a player’s attitude more than going into an actual tournament out of the country with that player.

“We want to take a look if he would be a good prospect for a naturalised player for us.”

SEE ALSO: Philippines: Uncertainty over Gilas’ naturalised players as Blatche and Standhardinger’s status remains unclear

Reyes, who has made no secret of how difficult it is to find the right naturalised player, had been watching Austin’s game for a long time before inviting him to the Philippines.

“We’ve kept tabs on Isaiah since he was college, because he has the type of skill-set that we’re looking for for the national team,” said Reyes.

“We’re looking for a tall guy who has an outside shot and can be a rim protector, and that’s why Andray Blatche is such a special player for us.

“When we saw Isaiah, we thought that he had perfectly the skill-set…You know that we’ve been looking at JaVale McGee for the longest time. In Isaiah, we have a JaVale McGee with a three-point shot.”

Reyes admitted Austin had been in touch with Gilas officials for two months – but said they wanted to keep it quiet until now for obvious reasons.

The 23-year-old Californian returned to basketball with FMP in Serbia earlier this year, before linking up with Chinese team Guangxi Rhinos in July.

“He played in Serbia, and then now his commitment in China has ended, so it’s the perfect situation for us to bring him over,” said Reyes.

“The day that we connected with him, he sent his passport and birth certificate already to us, so he’s very interested.”

The post Basketball: Is former NBA prospect Isaiah Austin the answer to Philippines’ naturalised player dilemma? appeared first on Asian Correspondent.

Asian Correspondent


Related Stories

Plans drawn up for world's tallest wooden skyscraper
  • Tue, 20 Feb 2018 02:22

The 70-storey tower would be 90% wood and have trees and other foliage on every level. BBC News - Asia

'Survivor: Ghost Island' Player Profile: Meet Sebastian Noel
  • Tue, 20 Feb 2018 01:50

A fishing guide from Satellite Beach in Florida, the 22-year-old Sebastian is what happens when you gene-splice Ozzy Lusth and Captain Jack

Kansas basketball is favored by the referees at home, according to the rest of the Big 12
  • Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:52

Bob Huggins is far from the first person this year to suggest that the officiating at Allen Fieldhouse might not be fair. Kansas dramatically improve...

Widow of Slain Cambodian Government Critic Kem Ley is Granted Asyum in Australia
  • Tue, 20 Feb 2018 00:25

Bou Rachana, widow of slain Cambodian social commentator and government critic Kem Ley, has been granted asylum in Australia, leaving with her five so...

Rodrigo Duterte says Chinese military island bases are there to oppose US, not Philippines
  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 23:11

Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte tried to allay fears over China’s construction of military bases on man-made islands in the South China Sea...

Austin Dillon gets tattoo on his butt after winning Daytona 500
  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 22:53

The NASCAR driver now has “Daytona 500 champ” tattooed on his posterior. How else would you celebrate winning the Daytona 500 then getting a tatto...

Indians who 'abused witches' arrested by police
  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 22:15

The two women had their hair forcibly shaved off and were stripped naked and paraded through the village. BBC News - Asia

Trump India 'dinner and chat' property offer criticised
  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 18:16

A newspaper advertisement offers property buyers conversation and a meal with Donald Trump Jr. BBC News - Asia

Terracotta theft: Chinese anger over stolen warrior thumb
  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 17:13

A US man took a selfie with the 2,000-year-old terracotta warrior statue before stealing its thumb. BBC News - Asia

Former head of elite Tokyo prosecution unit kills pedestrian in car accident
  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:31

A car driven by the former head of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutor’s Office special investigation squad struck and killed a pedestrian in Minat...

This Intel-backed China start-up is building ‘brains’ for self-driving cars, powering surveillance cams
  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 16:16

If you have taken a ride on the Beijing subway or tried on a pair of shoes at a Belle boutique, there’s a chance you have been monitored by surv...

The market may be booming, but days of shark’s fin with rice are over for Hong Kong’s brokers
  • Mon, 19 Feb 2018 15:17

Lunar New Year is a time for bonuses for many Hong Kong brokers, and many of them expect to get a better bonus in the Year of the Dog. Some companies ...

News Categories