Mississippi State Bulldogs: 50 Greatest Athletes in School History

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Nov 22, 2014; Starkville, MS, USA; General view before the game between the Mississippi State Bulldogs and the Utah State Aggies at Humphrey Coliseum. Mississippi State Bulldogs defeat Utah State Aggies 71-63. Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

#25 Mario Austin, Forward/Center (2001-2003)

Mario Austin was a recruiting coup for Rick Stansbury. He had previously signed a McDonald’s All American in Jonathan Bender, but Bender was a lottery draft pick in 1999. So when Mario Austin was signed and actually made it to Starkville, people were excited. His Freshman season didn’t go as planned. He only averaged 7.9 points a game and 3.6 rebounds. The Bulldogs were hoping more from the big time recruit, but it never materialized. The Dawgs would lose to Tulsa in the third round of the NIT that year. Mario Austin’s sophomore season saw Austin break out in a big way. His sophomore and junior seasons he averaged nearly 16 points a game and almost 8 rebounds a game. He was instrumental in the surprising upset over Kentucky in the SEC opener in 2002. Austin decided to leave for the NBA and was drafted after his junior season, but an NBA career never materialized.

Next: Number 24