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BYU basketball's Nate Austin granted hardship waiver, will return for 2015-16

The Cougars will have Austin back next season, but will he be on scholarship?

Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

BYU basketball got more good news today when the team announced Nate Austin has been granted a hardship waiver and will be able to return to BYU for the 2015-2016 season. The redshirt senior big man played in ten games last year before suffering a season-ending hamstring injury.

The 6-11 Austin isn't the type of player to fill up a box score, as he only has averaged 3.8 points, 5.4 rebounds a game over his career, but he did play nearly 20 minutes a game last season before he got hurt, and having additional big man depth is always a good thing for BYU. Austin should find some place in the rotation to contribute given his on-court hustle and leadership.

The key question, left unanswered by the official release, is whether Austin will remain on athletic scholarship, or if he'll be walking on? BYU is juggling a big roster, and additional clarity on their scholarship situation will have to be coming later. There is currently room for Austin to be on scholarship, but BYU has also been reported to be pursuing graduate transfer big men like Tomasz Gielo (who chose Ole Miss) and Willy Kouassi, who seems to be mostly deciding between Arkansas and BYU. The scholarship question is likely to remain unanswered until Kouassi decides--if there are no other JC or grad-transfer targets, that is.

The news for Austin's expected return becoming official came on the same day it was confirmed 7-foot-3 Alan Hamson, brother of BYU superstar Jen Hamson, will be walking on for the Cougars this season. If Kouassi happens to choose BYU, the Cougars will have no shortage of big men this season.

The official release on Austin's return can be found here.