The struggling Penn State basketball team got a shot in the arm on Thursday night when Philadelphia small forward prospect Brandon Austin announced on his Twitter page that he has committed to the Nittany Lions 2013 recruiting class.
Though sporting a record of just 10-15 overall and 2-10 in the Big Ten on the court, coach Patrick Chambers was to convince Austin, who Scout.com rates as a four-star recruit, to verbally agree to bring his talents to Happy Valley, and rather enthusiastically to boot, as Lions 247's Andrew Dzurita reports.
"I'm excited man, I'm a Nittany Lion," said Austin by phone on Thursday night. "Finding the school that I fit well with was what went into my decision."
"Both coach Chambers and coach (Keith) Urgo were making it clear that it was a great situation for me," admitted Austin. "They are a little down right now but with me they said I can help turn the program around."
ESPN.com gives the 6-foot-6, 175-pound small forward a Scout's grade of 93 and reports he fielded offers from a number of big East Coast programs including Georgetown, Syracuse, Villanova, Miami and Tennessee. That service also ranks him No. 12 at his position nationally, No. 15 overall in his region and No. 3 in the state of Pennsylvania.
Fight On State's Mark Brennan offers the following scouting report of Austin's game.
"Brandon Austin is a very good athlete on the wing who knows how to score," Scout.com recruiting analyst Brian Snow said. "This is a big-time get for Penn State and Coach Chambers. He is one of the best players in the city of Philadelphia, and had some of the traditional eastern powers after him. Overall very impressive to lock this kid up early on in the process."
Austin joins Geno Thorpe, a three-star recruit out of Shaler in Penn State's 2013 recruiting class, and joins transfer D.J. Newbill as the second Philadelphia-area player brought into the program under Chambers, formerly an assistant at Villanova.
This is pretty obviously a big catch for Chambers and his staff. Prospects sought by programs as respected as Georgetown and Syracuse simply do not decide to play their college ball in these parts very often. Austin's commitment also signals that Penn State is poised to compete for prospects in the talent-rich Philadelphia area, a previously inaccessible territory under former coach Ed DeChellis.
All of that, and Austin could very well could be the most highly-touted recruit to ever commit to the program. Of course, stars and lofty recruiting rankings don't win basketball games, but they certainly don't hurt, either, especially for a program not used to seeing very many walk through the front door like this.
Check out his sophomore highlight tape below.