February 20, 2024

This has been a watershed season for Wauconda freshman Austin Carlsen.

It’s a testomony to the taking pictures guard’s ability and onerous work that he’s receiving minutes off the bench on a proficient, skilled staff that enters February within the driver’s seat to win the Northern Lake County Convention title.

However this season will all the time maintain a particular place in Carlsen’s reminiscence for extra private causes.

“I simply actually needed to play with my brother,” Carlsen stated, referring to his older brother Braeden. “All the time seeing him play, I needed to be like him, and the final couple of years, one among my targets was to get thus far.”

Most freshmen don’t have a varsity roster spot of their line of considering, however Austin Carlsen isn’t like most freshmen. His household consists of not solely Mercer recruit Braeden Carlsen, a four-year starter averaging 23.2 factors, but in addition their oldest brother Chris, a 2019 Wauconda graduate who performed soccer at Northwest Missouri.

“I’ve seen how onerous each of my brothers have labored, and that’s helped me push myself to attempt to get to their degree,” Austin Carlsen stated. “However I’ve bought my very own targets. Everybody desires to be higher than their siblings.”

That may appear to be a tall order for a 14-year-old. However Austin Carlsen has already reached the 6-foot-4 Braeden’s peak — relying on which brother you ask — and his taking pictures and athleticism recommend there’s much more in his sport to unlock.

Wauconda coach Ty Weidner has recognized Austin Carlsen for years. Weidner really coached all three Carlsen brothers within the Bulldogs’ feeder program. So Austin Carlsen’s early emergence doesn’t shock Weidner.

“The quickness and physicality a part of it’s powerful to transition to at that age,” Weidner stated. “However you simply have a look at him, and you’ll inform he’s a participant and that he’s going to get taller. Because the 12 months has gone on, he’s positively gotten extra comfy, and his future is unquestionably brilliant.”

Austin Carlsen possible would have had a starring function on Wauconda’s junior varsity staff this season. As an alternative, he will get to apply and play in opposition to the next degree of competitors and observe from the bench when he’s not on the courtroom.

Casting a detailed eye on Braeden Carlsen is an effective place for Austin to begin.

“He all the time has a goal with the ball, and when he’s off the ball, he by no means stops shifting,” Austin Carlsen stated. “And (there are) the alternative ways to come back off a display, relying on how the protection is taking part in you. I examine as a lot as I can to enhance my basketball IQ.”

Austin Carlsen is averaging lower than one level, one rebound and one help. However his season-best outing — 10 factors with two 3-pointers, two rebounds, two assists and three steals within the Bulldogs’ NLCC win in opposition to Spherical Lake on Jan. 23 — confirmed he’s studying.

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Principally, although, Austin Carlsen takes pleasure in constantly making the best performs.

“I do know what my function is, and that’s to rebound and do little issues on protection,” he stated. “I attempt to take advantage of my minutes and recognize the time that I get.”

Wauconda’s Austin Carlsen takes a 3-point shot during a Northern Lake County Conference game against Grayslake North in Grayslake on Friday, Jan. 26, 2024.

After all, that’s not all the time potential, which is another excuse Austin Carlsen is glad to be on a staff with an enormous brother. He factors to Wauconda’s win in opposition to Buffalo Grove on Dec. 29.

“I didn’t play my greatest, and I used to be off by myself within the locker room,” Austin Carlsen stated. “(Braeden) came visiting and gave me phrases of encouragement. He instructed me how he remembers feeling when he was a freshman. Having him there was actually useful, and it boosted my morale.”

Exchanges like that aren’t uncommon for a senior chief like Braeden Carlsen, however there’s further that means for him in his interactions with Austin. That is the primary time they’ve been on the identical staff, and the Carlsen household relishes the chance.

“The assist he provides me is totally different as a result of he’s my brother,” Braeden Carlsen stated. “He hypes me up, and I hype him up. My dad and mom had been striving for this for a few years, so to have it grow to be actuality is actually cool for my household.”

Steve Reaven is a contract reporter for the Information-Solar.