The 2014 NBA Draft is now less than a week away, and former University of Baylor center Isaiah Austin was looking forward to it more than anyone. Now, he will unfortunately be watching from court-side for the rest of his life due to being diagnosed with Marfan syndrome which will end his playing career, per Bleacher Report on June 22, 2014.
Marfan syndrome is a genetic disorder which is caused "by a genetic mutation that leads to problems in connective tissues throughout the body," according to BaylorBears.com.
The 7'1" center out Baylor left after his sophomore season and declared for the NBA Draft. Isaiah Austin ended his college career tied for second on the school's all-time blocked shots list with 177 and had 119 in his sophomore year.
Baylor head coach Scott Drew issued a statement and an offer to Austin:
"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."
Another symptom of Marfan syndrome is aortic enlargement which can indeed be life-threatening. The Marfan Foundation states that about one in 5,000 people have Marfan syndrome.
During Austin's sophomore season, he revealed that he is blind in his right eye due to a detached retina he suffered as a teenager. Austin was well known for his immense height, great play, and iconic goggles that he wore during his time on the floor.
The Marfan syndrome in Austin was found during some genetic testing which is a required preparation for the 2014 NBA Draft.
Austin sent out a message to his followers and supporters:
"The draft is four days away, and I had a dream that my name was going to be called," Austin said via Baylor men's basketball's official Twitter account. "I'm sorry (my supporters) couldn't see me play in the NBA. But it's not the end. It's only the beginning."
In 73 career games at Baylor (with 72 starts), Isaiah Austin averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds, and 2.4 blocks in 28.9 minutes per game.
At the NBA Scouting combine, Austin had the longest wingspan of any prospect there with 7-4½. He was being looked at as a late first-round or early second-round pick in this week's upcoming NBA Draft.