Waverly Austin Ineligible: How Loss Affects South Florida

Waverly Austin, one of the top JUCO post prospects, has been ruled ineligible by South Florida — not the NCAA — and will transfer to another school. Jon Rothstein tweeted the news at 1:21 pm this afternoon.

This latest development comes as a huge blow to Stan Heath and the Bulls, who, coming off a NCAA Tournament appearance, were counting on Austin to replace Augustus Gilchrist down low. With good post moves and range extending to just inside the arc, Waverly, at 6-feet 11-inches, would have been an impact player for South Florida. Now, Heath will bank on Jordan Omogbehin’s development at prep school and smaller bigs Victor Rudd Jr., Toarlyn Fitzpatrick and Kore White. But White was expected to help replace Ron Anderson Jr, and Rudd and Fitzpatrick are more wing players than post players.

With the exception of Omogbehin, who is 7-feet 3-inches, none of the potential replacements could impact the game in the post nearly as much as Austin, who averaged 14.8 points, 9.3 boards and 2.9 blocks per game at Palm Beach State College last year. But there’s reason to believe Omogbehin isn’t even ready to step in and contribute.

Especially with defense as South Florida’s most prominent tenet, the void left in the middle will be damaging. Attacking Rudd, Fitzpatrick and White won’t be nearly as daunting as trying to get to the rim against Austin.

And offensively, Austin would have been a big capable of putting points on the board for an offensively challenged team.

This is actually the second time that Austin’s eligibility has hurt South Florida. Back in 2009, he committed to the Bulls only to be ruled academically ineligible.

Rothstein later tweeted a potential landing spot for Austin.

The Bulls could still make a return trip to the Big Dance, but it will definitely be tougher without Austin.

Follow Ari Kramer on Twitter for more on the Big East and college basketball.

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