Maurice Austin was born to put a basketball through a hoop.
All the Pueblo South High School sophomore boys basketball player has done during his first two seasons is score and score and score.
This season, the 5-foot-9 guard has been among the state's top scorers in all classifications.
He and his brother, senior Terrance Austin, are each averaging more than 23 points per game for the Colts, ranked No. 1 in Class 4A with a 17-0 record, 4-0 in the South-Central League.
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Scoring a natural trait
Maurice hasn't always been a big scorer. He has morphed into putting up big numbers, both as a scorer, rebounder, and passer.
"Not really," Maurice said when asked if he's always been a scorer. "It started last year, but I can't score without my team. ... My teammates help me do what I do. I can't do any of this without the people around me."
South head coach Shannon Lane says while Maurice can score from anywhere on the court, he's a true team player.
"His real strength to me is he understands his teammates' ability and their roles," she said. "His joy comes from making his teammates better.
"For a 15-year-old kid he's always played beyond his years, always played up since he was little playing against his brother's-age opponents. Sometimes I watch him in games and can't believe he's still just a sophomore."
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More than a scorer
Ever since entering high school, Maurice has filled the stat sheet.
Not only does he score, but he rebounds on both ends of the floor, is a deft passer, and has a knack for stealing the ball.
"I'm a facilitator," he said. "I like to get my team involved because if I get my team involved we'll have a great game."
"I haven't seen a lot of kids from Pueblo who have the vision the way he does," Lane said. "He completes passes that I can't believe. He can assist like crazy and you can't defend his passes.
"He can get to the rim, shoot from the midrange and 3-point range, and can go equally both ways off the dribble. It's tough to figure out how you are going to stop him because he has so many skills.
A dramatic freshman year
Maurice had a freshman season for the ages.
He averaged 12.1 points, 5.3 rebounds, 7.2 assists and 3.8 steals per game and was a catalyst in getting the Colts to the Class 4A Final Four. As was his brother, who was the team's leading scorer.
Tarrance made a last-second, 3-point half-court shot in the Sweet 16 that eliminated Erie from the playoffs and propelled South to the Great 8.
"That was a special year," he said. "I was a freshman and very nervous but my guys helped me become a better person, a better player."
Lane recalled how Maurice stepped in and became the team leader despite being a freshman.
"His freshman year was unbelievable," she said. "Nobody doubted he was the leader of our team. Where he took us we were driven by him many different ways.
"Last year he developed leadership mainly because of his ability and passion to play. I never had to build his role as a leader. It's just something everybody looks at and comes with being the quarterback of the team. He's expected to do that."
Listening and learning
Maurice is a vocal leader, but he's willing to step aside for others to have success. He listens and learns. That's one of the reasons he's such a good leader.
"My dad (Peron) helped me with that," Maurice said. "He used to be a point guard and I carried on with what he gave me.
"My team can take constructive criticism. They like that and like to get better every day. They are great listeners but we can switch off the leadership role. It just happens that I'm the point guard and that's one of my jobs."
"He understands if someone else needs to step up and run point (position), it's fine with him," Lane said. "He can play any position on the court and is willing to do so.
"Mo listens. If we're calling plays he looks over to get different sets we want. But he's able to read things on his own."
Chieftain senior sports reporter Jeff Letofsky can be reached by email at email@example.com or on Twitter @jeffletofsky
This article originally appeared on The Pueblo Chieftain: Scoring machine: Pueblo South's Maurice Austin knows how to score