Waverly Austin doesn’t hide the fact that he would rather be at South Florida – or any other four-year college – than at Palm Beach State right now.
Coming out of high school, Austin committed to the Bulls but didn’t meet NCAA qualifications and needed to go the junior college route.
“No player would rather be in a junior college than a four-year college, but I’m making the most of it,” Austin said Wednesday night.
Austin, a 6-foot-10 native of Fredericksburg, Va. attended three high schools during his senior year – Progressive Christian (Md.), God’s Academy (Texas) and Princeton Day School (Md.) – before going to Heat Academy (Va.) for a prep year.
While he admittedly was disappointed that he needed to go to Palm Beach State, Austin averaged a double-double last season and helped turn the Panthers into a surprising powerhouse.
“There’s a lot of good players in junior college, but I’m a workaholic,” Austin said. “Through hard work, I think I’ve established myself as one of the elite players in the country.”
Now, Austin is ready to get focused on finding a four-year school for his final two years. There are seven schools currently in the mix for his services: Miami (Fl.), Maryland, Florida, South Florida, Baylor, Kansas and Missouri. Seton Hall and DePaul were recently cut from his list.
Most of the suitors have already come through to Palm Beach State to watch him workout recently, with Kansas coming by on Friday and Maryland scheduled to come soon.
“I think I can help any team in the country, because I can make an impact both offensively and defensively,” Austin said.
He will take an unofficial visit to Miami (Fl.) on Saturday for the Hurricanes’ football game against Ohio State. After that, Austin will trip to South Florida for an official visit and will also attend Kansas’ Midnight Madness.
“Those are the only ones set right now,” he said, before adding that he would like to take officials to the other schools as well.
While Austin said there were no favorites and each of the schools are on equal footing right now, the college he originally committed to is in hot pursuit.
“South Florida is recruiting me really hard, probably the hardest right now,” he said. “Missouri is coming at me hard. Florida, Kansas, Baylor. Everyone’s making a really strong push right now.”
Austin wants to cut his list in the near future, and then make an announcement on the first day of the early signing period. He doesn’t plan on making a surprise commitment on any of his visits.
In his future school, Austin is looking for a coach who motivates and somewhere he can play right away.
“A great coach who can push me to work hard,” he said. “Someone who develops pros. Also, somewhere I can come in and make an immediate impact.”
With his timeline mostly set, Austin is ready to get back into the recruiting process.
Said Austin: “I’m going to take my visits, and whichever school feels right.”
Photo: Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg)