WACO (June 22, 2014) Former Baylor center Isaiah Austin, who played two seasons for the Bears before declaring for the 2014 NBA draft, has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, one consequence of which is potentially life-threatening aortic enlargement, the university said Sunday.
The syndrome, caused by a genetic mutation that leads to problems in connective tissues throughout the body, was discovered through genetic testing in advance of the NBA draft, the university said.
“This is devastating news, but Isaiah has the best support system anyone could ask for, and he knows that all of Baylor Nation is behind him,” head coach Scott Drew said.
“His health is the most important thing, and while it’s extremely sad that he won’t be able to play in the NBA, our hope is that he’ll return to Baylor to complete his degree and serve as a coach in our program.”
Austin, a 7-foot-1 center from Arlington, revealed during his sophomore season that he is blind in his right eye as a result of a detached retina suffered as a teenager.
He could have been the first partially blind player in the NBA.
During his two seasons at Baylor, Austin played in 73 games (72 starts) and averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28.9 minutes per game.
He finished his career in Waco tied for second on the school’s all-time blocked shots list with 177, and his 119 blocks as a sophomore led the Big 12 Conference.
Baylor went a combined 49-26 during his two-year career, winning the 2013 NIT Championship and advancing to the 2014 NCAA Sweet 16.