Men’s basketball athlete, Tyler Austin, was born in Atlanta, Georgia. He was introduced to the game of basketball in the first grade, then took a pause in the sixth grade before moving to Rocklin, California. Interestingly enough, while attending Whitney High School, Austin did not play AAU Travel basketball, a very common path for young basketball players. Instead, he committed to play baseball until his junior year, when he switched to basketball.
“The opportunity for me to play at Westmont came from my high school head coach, Nick French,” said Austin. “Coach French sent my film to the previous head coach, Coach Moore, and I came down for a visit. I fell in love with Westmont due to its beautiful campus and the welcome I got from the players at Westmont in 2018. I accepted my offer shortly after my visit.”
Austin mentioned that playing basketball during his time at Westmont has taught him how to socialize with men from a variety of backgrounds and with different personalities. It allows him to perform well on the court while having close relationships off the court.
For him, one of the most memorable games of this 2022 season was, by far, the game against Masters University. Prior to this game, he had never beaten Masters in his collegiate career and expressed his excitement about playing alongside his team as they worked together to get the win. He exclaimed, “Our fans were electric in this game. They even rushed the court after we had won and celebrated with us.”
However, four memorable years of collegiate basketball was not always as fun as winning against the Masters. Austin has faced many trials and tribulations leading up to the athlete he is today. He shared: “The biggest adversity I faced as a player was being injured. I broke my foot three weeks before school started this year. It took eight weeks for my foot to heal, and I was faced with not being able to play basketball for an extended period of time for the first time in my life. Two weeks after my foot had fully healed, I suffered a grade two ankle sprain that held me out of basketball activities for two weeks. Again, I was unable to practice with my team.”
Although this challenge was difficult for Austin, he had a support system behind him. “I grew the most personally in my faith during these tough times. Not being able to practice with my team was what hurt me the most. I felt helpless, but our trainer, Melissa, helped me rehab my foot and ankle every single day until both injuries were fully healed. I am thankful for the dedication and hard work that our athletic trainers put into the athletes here at Westmont.”
Seeing personal growth and perseverance through his setbacks, Austin has shown memorable resilience that is not seen in every athlete. With the end in mind, he still expresses his excitement for finishing this season in the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) and making more memories with friends and on the beach or the golf course.
Austin plans to pursue athletic administration in hopes of becoming an athletic director. Although the Santa Barbara sun is amazing, it isn’t enough to keep him in California. He plans on moving to the East Coast or to Texas while staying connected to a church and centering his life around Christ. We are sad to see him leave, but so blessed to have encountered an athlete of such high character and respect.