Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Dennis Austin III was born in Gary, Ind. on May 24, 1995. I met Austin when he played basketball for Apple Valley High School. I was able to email him to ask him a few questions about himself and his basketball background.
Austin grew up in Indiana and moved to Minnesota when he was 14 years old. He attended Apple Valley Middle School before transferring to Hidden Oaks Middle School in Prior Lake and then he transferred to Nicollet Middle School in Burnsville, Minn.

He has two older brothers Richard and Emmanuel Riley and two younger siblings John McGill and Jazmyne Seymoure.

Austin graduated in 2014 from Apple Valley High School.  

He played football through his junior year of high school and has also played basketball. Austin started playing basketball when he was in the fifth grade.

I asked him what basketball means to him he said: “To me basketball means, a way out. It’s a way to separate me from all the negative things around, growing up not having anything and borrowing and begging people for rides because of not having transportation or seeing my mother so hungry but making sure her five kids are full. That's what drives me. It’s more than just basketball to me. It’s my life, it’s all I have, and basketball is what keeps my family close besides our love for each other. Seeing my mother in the front row of every games that she could make it to, felt so good. I love my mother we haven't always seen eye to eye and we've had our fallouts. But even though she's tough she's also cares about what best for her family.”

Austin is currently redshirting the 2014-2015 season at Upper Iowa University which is a NCAA DII basketball program which is located in Fayette, Iowa.

Austin had a hard time growing up. He didn’t have a father that was around. He looks up to his older brothers. His mother takes care of all 5 of the children.   

He is close to his family. Austin is continually working on his game. Austin and his brothers hit the gym every time he gets home from school for about three hours. Austin said: “I have a lot of people to thank for pushing me through high school and getting me prepared for school so many people”.  He is very thankful for all the help that he received throughout his life for pushing him through basketball and school.

While at Apple Valley High School Austin had a chance to play with Tyus Jones. Jones was one of Minnesota’s top basketball recruits coming out of Minnesota in the class of 2014. Jones plays for Duke University where in 2014-2015 was his freshman season.

Austin said that Playing with Jones was, “Man. Speechless. Tyus is my brother… Playing with him helped me become a better player on and off the court. Watching him handle himself in pressure situations and how he respects the game of basketball is incredible. Everyone knows he’s talented, but no one really knows how much work he puts in. I started working out with him probably my sophomore year , we were friends already but I didn’t start working out with him until then, now my game has completely changed, I play guard in college now I’m 6-foot-3 200 lbs. and it’s because of Tyus and his older brother Jadee . They treated me like family since day one and even though I missed a lot of lay ups in games that probably cost him some double doubles, they both still welcomed me. The whole Jones family is incredible. We still work out every time were home early in the morning or late at night Tyus, Tre and Jadee we all in there working. Seeing how badly that want it and what level he's already on, makes me wanted even more. Coming to Apple Valley as a freshman and playing with my brother Tyus, was probably the best thing to happen to me for basketball. He makes his teammates better and we are always going to be family.”

I was able to email Apple Valley’s head coach Zach Goring and asked him about Austin. Goring said, “Dennis is a great kid. Both on and off the court Dennis has come a long way. Dennis would be the first to tell you that academically Dennis didn't put in the amount of time necessary his 9th and 10th grade years.  He refocused his junior and senior year in the classroom and graduated and was eligible to play his freshman year at Upper Iowa but he redshirted. On the court he has changed into more of a perimeter player this year at Upper Iowa.  When he is back from school he usually stops by the gym. As a coach, you know that they had a good experience if they want to come back and say hi.”

I was able to catch up with Austin at the 2015 Minnesota State High School state basketball tournament and we were able to talk about basketball and the state tournament.

I personally know Austin. He is a good person to be around and he is a good guy on and off the court. He puts in a lot of work on and off the basketball court. To me I think that Austin will keep growing as a player and his hard work on and off the court will play off big time.

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