WALTON — As he weighed the pros and cons during his search to find the right college, Cass senior Austin Keisling had a valuable resource at his disposal – his father.
Chris Keisling has been a head basketball coach and administrator at various stops over the last 25 years, including a state championship run with the Western girls last season, and as a result, learned a thing or two about the recruitment process along the way.
Chris told Austin the journey to finding the right college is a lot like buying a car. As painstaking as the search may become, waiting on the right offer typically pays dividends in the long run.
Austin had an opportunity to become a preferred walk-on for coach Matt Painter’s Purdue squad, but in his heart, he knew Grace College was where he felt most comfortable.
With scholarship offers already in place from the likes of Bethel and Goshen, Grace didn’t show much interest at first. That was until Austin led the Kings to the Class 2A semistate.
Three weeks after Cass’ 22-3 campaign ended, Grace put an offer on the table, and Austin’s waiting game paid off. He’ll continue his education at the Crossroads League school while playing basketball and running track for the NAIA Division II Lancers.
“If Purdue didn’t work out, Grace College was where I wanted to go the whole time,” Austin said. “My dad was the one who kept me calm when it came to being patient. He’d say you almost have to view it like a bargaining process. Let’s just say if I didn’t have my dad’s help, I’d be sitting here with no hair. He had a humongous impact. I’m very blessed to have him.”
Cass started the season 2-2, but rattled off a 20-game win streak which included sectional and regional titles before falling to Westview in the 2A North Semistate.