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BYU's Nate Austin receives medical hardship waiver, will play for Cougars next season

Brigham Young Cougars forward Nate Austin, left, Hawaii Warriors forward Mike Thomas, and Brigham Young Cougars guard Frank Bartley IV square off for the rebound during the game in the Energy Solutions Arena Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in Salt Lake City.
Brigham Young Cougars forward Nate Austin, left, Hawaii Warriors forward Mike Thomas, and Brigham Young Cougars guard Frank Bartley IV square off for the rebound during the game in the Energy Solutions Arena Saturday, Dec. 6, 2014, in Salt Lake City.
Hugh Carey, Deseret News

It's official: Nate Austin is coming back.

The 6-foot-11 forward was granted a medical hardship waiver by the West Coast Conference and will play for BYU in the 2015-16 season, the school announced Tuesday.

“Having Nate back for this season will be a big boost for our team,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a news release. “His experience will help us on both ends of the floor. Nate brings great enthusiasm and leadership, so we’re excited to have him back.”

Austin, who will be a redshirt senior, injured his hamstring prior to the Cougars' game against Utah Dec. 10. He played one defensive possession vs. the Utes before leaving the game.

Before the season-ending injury, Austin started 10 games last year for BYU, averaging 3.0 points and 5.6 rebounds.

During his junior season in 2013-14, Austin was second on the team in rebounds, with 7.9 per game. That trailed only Kyle Collinsworth, who tallied 8.1 rebounds per contest that season.

Austin has started 53 games at BYU and has career averages of 3.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game, with 71 total blocks and 63 steals as a Cougar.

The Cougar frontcourt is also reportedly getting bolstered by a walk-on, as the Daily Herald reported Pleasant Grove native Alan Hamson, who stands 7-3, will join the team following his LDS mission. Hamson is the younger brother of former BYU basketball and volleyball player Jennifer Hamson, who is now playing for the WNBA's Los Angeles Sparks. Their mother is Tresa Spaulding Hamson, a former All-American basketball player at BYU.

According to the Herald, Alan Hamson is currently serving in the California Ventura Mission. He averaged 10.57 points and 7.43 rebounds per game his senior year for Pleasant Grove in the 2011-12 season.

In addition to Austin and Hamson, the Cougar frontcourt is expected to include starting center Corbin Kaufusi, Kyle Davis and Jamal Aytes next season, as well as returned missionaries Jakob Hartsock and Braiden Shaw.

Email: bjudd@deseretdigital.com; Twitter: @brandonljudd