Every time Isaiah Austin reached the precipice, something changed. Already a highly regarded prospect in the eighth grade, he was playing in a city championship game when the vision in his right eye went out, never to return.
Even with only one functioning eye, he regained his status as marquee basketball talent. When he was a high school senior, he and future NBA point guard Emmanuel Mudiay led Grace Preparatory Academy (Arlington, Texas) on a Cinderella run to the 2011 Culligan City of Palms Classic championship game, only to be stomped by 20 points by a team they'd beaten just six days before.
He became a legitimate star at Baylor and was widely projected as a late first-round NBA draft pick in 2014 when, five days before the draft, the NBA ruled him medically ineligible because of a rare and potentially deadly condition known as Marfan syndrome. To deal with the awkward situation, the NBA made Austin a ceremonial draft pick, with Commissioner Adam Silver announcing his name between the 15th and 16th overall selections, a point during the first round when a team may well have taken him if not for his diagnosis........