Two weeks prior to the 2017 NBA Draft, French center Jonathan Jeanne’s agent, Bouna Ndiaye, told The Vertical’s Shams Charania that the potential first round draft prospect has been diagnosed with Marfan syndrome, a genetic disorder that affects connective tissues in the body.
Jeanne’s MRI at the NBA Draft Combine back in April revealed the abnormality that led to further tests and the eventual diagnosis from the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday.
Marfan syndrome is the same disorder that Baylor’s Isaiah Austin was diagnosed with back in 2014 and prevented him from playing competitive basketball for two years. The most optimistic view of this diagnosis for Jeanne is to look at Austin’s path, which saw him get medically cleared last year and return to competitive basketball overseas, two years after his original diagnosis.
Here’s what Austin said about his draft experience when DIME checked in with him in March of 2016 (prior to his return to the court):
I was always Isaiah Austin. I was never Isaiah Austin, the basketball player. My whole life was basically dedicated to basketball because I had dreams of becoming an NBA player, but it wasn’t what I depended on. I wanted to go to college and get an education, and I wanted to do things once I retired from basketball. Unfortunately, I was forced to retire early, so I had to find out a new way to continue my life.
Millions of people saw my story that night and were inspired. It’s all because of the NBA. Because they had the grace and the class to pull something off like that. I’m nothing but thankful to the NBA. It’s opened up a tremendous amount of doors.
According to Charania, Jeanne isn’t expected to be cleared for any more pre-draft workouts ahead of the June 22 draft, and it’s unknown what — if any — his timetable is, although his agent noted Jeanne does hope to eventually return to professional basketball. The diagnosis is a scary one and crushing to a 19-year-old draft hopeful, but hopefully he will be able eventually get his health to the point Austin’s got to that saw him be medically cleared to play again.
Jeanne was a projected late first round pick as a center with terrific upside that was considered to be a rising prospect as the draft neared.