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I got punched in the mouth, and it took me a while to adjust,” Austin said.
“When he first got traded, you look online, Twitter, they were killing the guy: ‘You’re a bum.’ ‘You can’t play.’ ‘Your dad is risking his career,’” Joseph said. People can always say, ‘I block out the media.’ [But] they read that stuff. But when he was still young, the taunts tormented Austin. He devoted himself to improving his game and wound up being a four-year starter, developing into a slashing, scoring guard while capturing Class-6A Florida state championships in 20.
Critics suggested that the way Austin dominated the ball on offense was an important reason that team didn’t come together as well as it could have. Everybody could have through that whole thing.” In an early-season game against Michigan State, Rivers scored just five points on 1-of-7 shooting. Austin’s size and talent at the high school level made the game seem easy.
“We just didn’t mesh as good as we wanted to,” Austin said. It was one of those things where you just have to learn from it and get better. Back then, he always handled the ball for his teams, and on possessions where he passed off to teammates, he often got the ball back. In college, Joseph, Austin’s youth coach, told his former pupil to be ready for change.
“I would be so frustrated, because I would be watching kids I used to play against and they’re in situations where they’re playing. “I didn’t try to be the parent-coach every second of his life, but we had a lot of great basketball conversations at the same time,” Doc said.
“And I think that’s always been a bonding force for us.” For the most part, Doc left his children’s athletic development to others.