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Saint Francis recruit seeks to complete winding road to success

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For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis via Twitter at www.twitter.com/Tom101010

Fox is coming off strong season with IU-South Bend

Saturday, July 13, 2013 - 2:26 am

Basketball games don't often go a particular team's way over the course of the entire 40 minutes, and life isn't always as smooth as we all hope that it would be. But it speaks volumes about a team or a person if they can overcome obstacles, remain focused, and complete the journey in a successful manner.

For Austin Fox, his voyage, both on the basketball court, as well as life, hasn't been ideal. However, he is set on finishing this chapter of his life strong and that is what is important.

Fox recently committed to finish his basketball career at the University of Saint Francis, and he's more excited about the thought of that than just about anything he has undertaken in a long time.

“Saint Francis seems like the place for me,” Fox said.

That says something about the Cougar men's basketball program, because Fox has been searching for a place to feel comfortable since he graduated from Muncie Central High School in 2009.

He originally signed with NCAA Division II Saginaw Valley State out of high school, but left that program after one semester and returned to Muncie, got a job and took classes at Ivy Tech.

“I really wasn't sure that I wanted to keep playing,” Fox said.

The years passed and Fox drifted along with the time. At one point, he stopped taking classes altogether, but people kept getting in his ear about wasting his ability and living with regret. So a year ago, he decided to enroll at Ball State and walked-on with the Cardinal program.

“I felt like something was missing,” Fox said. “I'd always loved the game and a lot of people were telling me not to let my talent go to waste. I didn't want to be 30 years old and wondering 'What if?'”

The 6-foot-3 forward spent a semester playing with the Cardinals, but transferred to IU-South Bend last January, where he had a strong relationship with Titan assistant coach Alex Daniel, who also played at Muncie Central.

“Coach Daniel was pretty much the whole reason I was there,” Fox said.

He planned on finishing his career in South Bend. He played in 17 games for the Titans, who set a school record for victories (20), and Fox was a critical part of that success.

He averaged over 12 points per game and a team-best 6.4 rebounds per game.

However, when Titan head coach Chad Tapp left for another job in Arkansas this spring, Daniel didn't get the head coaching position, and Fox decided he wasn't going to stay.

He was recruited hard by both Saint Francis, as well as former Bearcat teammate John Peckinpaugh, who is an assistant coach at Indiana Tech, but selected the Cougars.

“I've known about Saint Francis for a while,” Fox said. “I know about the success that they've had and the coaching staff (Chad LaCross and assistant coach Luke Cummings) really seemed like they wanted me to be there. The campus is really nice. It's small, but I don't think that is a bad thing.”

Fox is expected to compete for a starting job at Saint Francis immediately and he'll have a couple of seasons of eligibility. His journey has been circuitous, but Fox feels that he is a better, more mature person for having learned hard lessons in life.

“There is no question,” Fox said of his being more prepared to succeed on and off of the floor at this point in his life. “The couple of years that I spent not playing and just working, it made me realize my potential as a human being.”

While in high school, Fox earned second-team All-North Central Conference honors after scoring 13 points per game and grabbing 7 rebounds per game as a senior. He also excelled in the classroom at Muncie Central, as he graduated from with an Academic Honors Diploma.