After an African pen pal encouraged him to find out about the continent, he learned that 12 million African children have been orphaned by the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
"I just kept thinking about what it would be like if I lost my parents," he said. "I just kept thinking about that and I just decided, you know what, I just have to go out and do something."
So Austin created Hoops of Hope, a charity for African Orphans that in just four years has raised $350,000 - one foul shot at a time
"There wasn't a high school within 60 miles," he said.
Twatchiyanda, Zambia, is a world away from Austin's home city of Pheonix. There, 20 percent of the children have been orphaned by HIV/AIDS. Last fall, Austin and the community became forever linked.
"When I heard about how far you guys had to walk to go to school, I decided to do something about it," he said.
Hoops of Hope paid for a brand-new high school. The first lesson?
"I'm going to teach you how to shoot alright?" Austin said.
It was no surprise.
"I've never met a young person at that age who could be involved in raising funds for our children here, all the way from America," a leader of the community said.
Austin's next project? Paying for a new medical center in Twatchiyanda.
"It was amazing just to finally see what we've done and what we are yet to do," he said.
For more information, visit Hoops of Hope.