Austin a household name in Baldwin sports

Former Baldwin athlete JD Austin now lives in Sacramento. (Courtesy photo)

Former Baldwin athlete JD Austin now lives in Sacramento. (Courtesy photo)

BALDWIN - Julius (J.D.) Austin was a household name when he was an athlete at Baldwin.

He graduated in 1997. He played football, basketball and baseball, and ran track. He played basketball and football all four years. He ran track for a few years and played baseball three seasons.

Austin indicated his best sport was football or basketball.

In football, he was a starting quarterback starting his sophomore year and onward. As a senior, he also played safety. A few times he returned kickoffs and punts.

"I threw for a lot of yards and a lot of touchdowns," he said. "I really wasn't a rusher. At safety, I had 14 interceptions."

Austin was All-State, all-conference and all-area in football.

In basketball, Austin was a shooting guard and averaged more than 20 points a game in his junior and senior seasons.

He also was All-State, all-league and All-Area.

"We won the district every year that I played," he said. "For football and basketball, I was the team captain and MVP."

In these two sports, "I was a leader in both," Austin said. "I was always a smart player. I knew both games. I always knew where everyone was supposed to be. My teammates would come to me for understanding plays. In football, I was extremely accurate and had a good arm. On the defensive side of football, I was one of the leading tacklers on the team. I knew where to be on every play.

"In basketball, I was a great leaper. I probably rebounded more than most guards. I averaged over 10 rebounds a game as well. I was a person who could drive to the basket, who could post up and could shoot well from threes. I dunked on people and I shot threes. I had good instincts on defense as well."

Austin ran track two years and did the long jump and eventually ran on the 4x100 relay team, plus the 400 meters. He earned All-State track honors.

Austin was a pitcher and third baseman in baseball, and saw some outfield action. He played every season except as a junior.

"I was a good hitter," he said. "I threw a no-hitter."

After Baldwin, Austin went to the University of Michigan for basketball.

He had back surgery and played for some junior colleges, notably Schoolcraft College, which went 35-1. He finished up his career with championship success at Rochester College and was a two-time academic All-American and two-time All-American, averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds plus five assists per game."

He's currently living on Sacramento, Calif. He said he usually plays in the Baldwin Alumni game every summer. Because of COVID 19, it's been cancelled this year.

What he especially liked abut Baldwin sports, Austin said, "is it's a true family, and everyone looks out for another. I like we have a rich history, and tradition, in general, and also in sports. We always had people doing well who we could look up to."