Austin receives the green light

Isaiah Austin, former Baylor Bear, was cleared to play basketball again on Wednesday after having to forgo an NBA career in 2014 after being diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome four days before the 2014 NBA draft. Photo credit: Lariat File Photo

Jordan Smith | Sports Writer

For the first time in two years, former Baylor men’s basketball star Isaiah Austin is returning to basketball and will pursue his dream of playing in the NBA. Austin announced it on his Instagram on Wednesday.

“Very excited to announce to everyone that the news is true. I have been blessed by the grace of God to receive a second chance at chasing my dream of playing basketball. Everything happens for a reason and I’m ready to share my testimony and journey with millions of people across the world. #DreamAgain,” Austin said in the video posted on his Instagram account.

Austin, just four days before the 2014 NBA draft, was diagnosed with Marfan Syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects the connective tissue in the body. Austin has faced other challenges as he has been blind in his right eye since age 16 after suffering a retinal detachment and four subsequent surgeries.

“I am cleared. I am about to be out here pursuing my dream. Ever since my doctors told me that I was cleared, it’s been in my mind: I want to go chase this. It’s always been my dream. At the same time, I’m a God-fearing man, and I believe that everything happens in life for a reason,” Austin in the video posted on his Instagram account. “So why would God put it in my doctor’s heart to say that I was cleared if he didn’t want me to go and chase my dream and share my testimony with millions of people around the world.”

Baylor men’s head basketball coach Scott Drew was ecstatic to hear the news along with everyone else.

“It was a lot of excitement, and the coaching staff was going crazy. I know Isaiah is someone who meant a lot to our university and program,” Drew said. “But every player that plays for you, you feel like is your son. And to see the excitement when he found out he was cleared … One of the best days I’ll remember.”

Austin averaged 12.1 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.4 blocks per game during his two seasons at Baylor.