Graduate transfer guard Larry Austin Jr. finds ‘perfect fit’ in CMU

When Larry Austin Jr. decided to transfer out of Xavier following the 2015-16 season, Central Michigan made an attempt to bring him to Mount Pleasant. 

Instead, Austin picked Vanderbilt. 

Deciding to transfer again after two seasons with the Commodores, the CMU coaching staff made it a priority to get Austin this time around. 

On April 16, head coach Keno Davis and company were successful.

“It was a good fit for me,” Austin said. “They need a guy like me for (the team) and the style of play fits me. CMU is a great opportunity for me. It’s what we were both looking for.”

Assistant coach Kevin Gamble shares a unique bond with Austin. Along with being his main recruiter, Gamble was a 1983 graduate of Lanphier High School in Springfield, Illinois. 

Also attending at Lanphier High School, Austin averaged 22.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 4.2 steals as a senior in 2014. He shot 38 percent from the 3-point line and 73 percent from the free throw line that season.  

“I have a good relationship with the staff,” Austin said. “They tried getting me after I transferred from Xavier, but I went to Vanderbilt. Coach Gamble and I are close because he was my main recruiter and we went to the same high school.”

The guard was a 2014 Class 3A unanimous First Team All-State selection by the Associated Press, Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times. He led his team to a 27-2 overall record and a 25-0 start, which set a record for the school and city of Springfield. 

Going hand-in-hand with his accomplishments on the court, Austin received Lanphier’s Good Citizenship Award and was an honor roll student. 

“The combination of talent and experience that he possesses will help him make an immediate impact on both ends of the court,” Davis said. 

During AAU basketball as a teen, Austin played against CMU guard Shawn Roundtree Jr. on multiple occasions. On his visit to check out the Chippewas, the two met up for open gym and ran the backcourt together. 

“I know (Shawn), and we hung out during my visit,” Austin said. “When I committed, I reached out to him. We will be a great combination. During open gym, we played well together.

“He plays with a lot of passion, so there are similarities there too.”

The 6-foot-2, 182-pound guard played the 2017-18 season at Vanderbilt after redshirting in 2016-17. Before taking the court for the Commodores, Austin played his first two seasons of college basketball at Xavier. 

“This is my third stop, so I’m looking for what fits,” Austin said. “I believe CMU is the right fit for me. It’s not much different except finding the right spot.”

In 2017-18, Austin started three of 23 games played for Vanderbilt. He averaged 2.5 points per game over the course of the season. His season-high was a 13-point outburst in a 93-89 loss to USC. 

Austin, as a fifth-year senior, will be eligible to play for the Chippewas in the 2018-19 season. 

“I will bring a lot of energy and passion,” Austin said. “I’ll be playing on both ends of the floor while having 110 percent energy every night. I’ll bring it every game.”