Baylor's Austin pulls out of draft due to Marfan syndrome

Austin
Austin
Posted: June 24, 2014

THIS WAS supposed to be an exciting week for Baylor's Isaiah Austin.

The 7-1 center, who played despite being blind in one eye, was looking forward to hearing his name announced at Thursday's NBA draft.

But yesterday, the school announced devastating news: The 20-year-old has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, the life-threatening genetic disorder from which professional volleyball player Flo Hyman died in January 1986.

"They told me that my arteries in my heart are enlarged and that if I overwork myself or push too hard that my heart could rupture," Austin told ESPN yesterday while fighting back tears. "The draft is 4 days away and I had a dream that my name was going to be called."

The condition was discovered after Austin took a physical for the draft.

"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 in a statement. "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 entered the draft after a sophomore season in which he averaged 11.2 points and 5.5 rebounds while leading the Bears to a spot in the Sweet 16, where they lost to Wisconsin.

It was only last season that Austin, who is from the Dallas area, publicly revealed he has a prosthetic right eye. He had injured the eye while playing baseball as youngster and after several operations couldn't save his sight.

"For all my supporters, I just want to tell them I'm sorry," Austin said. "I'm sorry they couldn't see me play in the NBA. To my fans, it's not the end. It's only the beginning."

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