Corwin Austin woke up last Thursday morning with a hop in his step. Breakfast tasted better. He felt differently.
After months of agonizing over his future – whether he would find a college, be forced to go to junior college or attend prep school — he finally could relax. On May 26, Division II Dowling College (Oakdale, N.Y.) offered the versatile Thomas Jefferson guard a full scholarship and he accepted.
“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” the East New York, Brooklyn native said. “I’m probably the first in my family to go to school on a full scholarship. Everyone in my family is real proud of me.”
“I was worrying, I’m not gonna lie,” he added. “It was stressful, but I just kept working on my game, hoping I could find a school.”
Nobody is prouder than Lawrence Pollard, Austin’s longtime coach, first in middle school and recently at Jefferson. Austin averaged seven points and four rebounds per game, but was particularly valuable to the star-studded Orange Wave as its top defender, first guard off the bench, and emotional leader.
“The kid’s dream came true,” Pollard said. “He always wanted to play college basketball. It’s good when it works out for a kid like that who was always sound academically and did what he had to do.”
Austin, 18, a defensive-minded 6-foot-2 guard at his best in the open court, joins standout Dave Coley, who will play for Stony Brook, as the second player in this year’s class at Jefferson to play college basketball.
“I’m 2-for-2, batting 1,000; I got two seniors, both going to college, both qualified,” Pollard said. “That might never happen again in my career. Next year, I may bat zero.”
Austin visited Dowling last Wednesday and impressed his new coach, Steve Hayn, in a scrimmage and workout with the program’s current players, which included former Canarsie forward Elon Howard, a friend of his. He liked the large campus and was told he could make an immediate impact.
“If I keep working, I think I could leave my stamp on the school and be one of the better players here,” he said. “I’m real happy.”