Isaiah Austin, 7-0, Power Forward, 2012
A very intriguing and somewhat frustrating player to watch, there is no doubting the talent level and upside of top-rated recruit Isaiah Austin (ranked #2 by Scout, #2 Rivals, #7 ESPN). Long and lanky, standing 7-feet tall with an exceptional wingspan and a frame that has a LONG ways to go in terms of filling out, Austin has the size of a center, the skill-set of a small forward, and probably weighs less than most point guards do.
Offensively, Austin likes to operate primarily facing the basket, which makes sense when considering the fact that he just doesn't have the strength to hold a spot on the block inside the paint. He likes to shoot jumpers, but sees inconsistent results doing so, and is capable of attacking the basket nicely from beyond the arc. He shows a very nice feel for the game passing the ball to teammates. He has some interesting footwork, but lacks the lower body strength to do much with it at this point, and is almost a sure bet to finish anything he catches around the basket thanks to his excellent hands, mobility and terrific standing reach.
Defensively, Austin lacks much in the ways of fundamentals and is not a particularly tough guy, leaving something to be desired in terms of the intensity he brings to the floor and appearing to be very upright and at times lackadaisical on the perimeter. His motor is just OK, but his talent level is extremely high, as he not only possesses great size and length but also seems to have terrific timing hunting out blocks and steals, both in the paint and on the perimeter, which is interesting to say the least.
Players with Austin's combination of size, length, athleticism and perimeter skills are incredibly rare, which is why he'll always be one of the most coveted prospects in his age group and a near sure-fire pick to play in the NBA down the road. He needs to find a position and improve his frame substantially over the next few years, though, something he has plenty of time to do considering his age.