D.J. Augustin continues annual camp, NBA career

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NEW ORLEANS – When you are short and slightly built by NBA standards, your chances of making it in the most challenging, talented basketball league in the world are slim.

Someone forgot to tell D.J. Augustin.

Topping out at 6 feet and 183 pounds, the New Orleans native will be entering his 11th season in the league this fall, when he turns 31.

Augustin has finally found stability, entering his third season with the Orlando Magic, the eighth team he has played for.

Augustin started his professional career with Charlotte in 2008 and played for the Bobcats for the first four seasons of his career.

Since that time, it has been a whirlwind tour for Augustin, as he has suited up for the Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons, Oklahoma City Thunder and Denver Nuggets before finally settling down in Orlando.

“Some people call me a journeyman, some people say that I’ve been around the league,” Augustin said. “I look at is I’m just making experiences. I meet new people, I meet great people living in different cities I never would have been able to live in if it wasn’t for basketball. I just look at it as a blessing.”

He has defied the odds of sticking around and succeeding as a small man in a tall man’s game.

“It’s crazy,” Augustin said. “I talk about it with my wife all the time, how blessed I am, how fortunate I am, a guy my size from New Orleans doesn’t last this long in the NBA. To be that person, it means a lot to me and my family. It drives me and motivates me to keep working hard and to play as long as I want to play.”

The 2017-18 season was a good one for Augustin.

He averaged 10.2 points and 3.8 assists while shooting 87 percent from the free throw line and 42 percent from 3-point range, his best long-range percentage since his rookie season of 2007-08 with the Bobcats.

“The older I get, the smarter I get,” Augustin said. “I know my game now. I know what I’m best at.”

Augustin played with New Orleans native Elfrid Payton of John Ehret with Orlando for a year and a half, sharing the same position. D.J. feels the New Orleans Pelicans are getting a good player but something even more.

“A great person, number one,” Augustin said. “He’s a great individual. He works very hard. He wants to be great. He’s going to do everything it takes to help their team win. I’m proud of EP. I look at him as a little brother. He’s a great defender, great leader. We all know him as a great penetrator, getting guys open, finding guys. That’s what he’s going to bring to this (Pelicans) team.”

D.J. has always dreamed of playing for his hometown team.

“It would be great to be back home one day,” Augustin said. “Hopefully, I have a few more years to play in the league. You never know what can happen in this business.”

Augustin was back in his hometown for his annual basketball camp at Brother Martin, where he starred well over a decade ago. Approximately 85-100 youngsters are participating in this year’s event, which runs through Wednesday.

Augustin always enjoys coming home and returning to Brother Martin, where he led the Crusaders to consecutive state championships in 2004 and 2005.

“Just to be back in New Orleans, period, is a great feeling,” Augustin said. “To be here at Brother Martin, it’s home for me. It brings back memories, great times with great teams, the great fans we had here, it’s just great to be back.”

Augustin puts on the camp annually and always gives back to those who give to him.

“If you look around here, my coaches, the people that’s helping out with my camp are all guys I played with, played against, people that helped me as a player and I just try to keep this like family because that it what it is all about,” Augustin said. “I look at these kids as family.”

Augustin teamed with Ryan Brock, Courtney Wallace, Corey Bloom, Deuce Martin, Steven Payton, Jared Joseph, among others for the back-to-back state titles at Brother Martin. Were it not for Hurricane Katrina and Augustine relocating to Hightower High in Missouri City, TX and Wallace going to Woodlawn of Baton Rouge for their senior seasons, the Crusaders would likely have achieved the rarity of winning three straight state championships.

“I think we were one of the best teams ever to come out of New Orleans,” Augustin said. “The things we did here, on and off the court were special. The way we carried ourselves and represented Brother Martin was special and it will be remembered forever.”

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Ken Trahan

CEO/Owner

Born and raised in the New Orleans area, CCSE CEO Ken Trahan has been a sports media fixture in the community for nearly four decades. Ken started NewOrleans.com/Sports with Bill Hammack and Don Jones in 2008. In 2011, the site became SportsNOLA.com. On August 1, 2017, Ken helped launch CrescentCitySports.com. Having accumulated national awards/recognition (National Sports Media Association, National Football…

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