An un­ex­pected honor

Orlando Sentinel - - SPORTS - [email protected]­lan­dosen­tinel.com

Au­gustin fin­ished his Brother Martin ca­reer as its all-time lead­ing scorer (2,249 points) and guided the Cru­saders to 5A state ti­tles in 2004 and 2005. He was twice named The Times-Picayune New Or­leans Player of the Year.

Au­gustin had to com­plete his se­nior year at Hightower High School in the Hous­ton sub­urb of Mis­souri City, Texas, af­ter Hur­ri­cane Ka­t­rina forced him and his fam­ily from New Or­leans. But he re­ceived his di­ploma from Brother Martin as a mem­ber of the Class of 2006.

Au­gustin, who makes his home in Hous­ton, said he’ll al­ways be con­nected to the Cres­cent City, where he still has fam­ily.

“There are a lot of things that tie me back to New Or­leans,” Au­gustin said.

A fu­ture pro­ject will strengthen those ties.

Au­gustin said he’s go­ing to cover the cost of re­plac­ing Brother Martin’s gym floor, which is made of clay. The school re­cently un­der­went other ren­o­va­tions, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of air con­di­tion­ing, and the floor in­stal­la­tion is next, Au­gustin said. He ex­pects the work to be­gin next sum­mer.

Be­ing able to help his high school ex­cites Au­gustin as much as hav­ing his jersey re­tired.

“It was a big part of my life. It’s just part of leav­ing a le­gacy,” he said. “That’s just an­other con­nec­tion I have to New Or­leans. My high school is like fam­ily.”

When Au­gustin, 32, was in mid­dle school and high school, he looked up to New Or­leans bas­ket­ball stars Randy Liv­ingston and Hol­lis Price.

Through they were older, Au­gustin even­tu­ally would be­come ac­quainted with Liv­ingston, and of­ten worked out with Price. Through those re­la­tion­ships, Au­gustin learned les­sons in hu­mil­ity and the im­por­tance of giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity.

“Just the things they did for the city. I just wanted to try to fol­low their lead,” Au­gustin said. “Those guys were re­ally hum­ble guys, down to earth. You’d see them in the com­mu­nity, see them in the neigh­bor­hood. Even when they went fur­ther in their ca­reers they still came back and gave back to the city and that’s some­thing I try to em­u­late to­day, 12 years later in the NBA.”

Au­gustin will be­come the first Cru­sader alum­nus to of­fi­cially have his jersey re­tired at the school, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease.

“D.J. Au­gustin reached ex­cel­lence in his years at Brother Martin High School, both on and off the bas­ket­ball court, and has con­tin­ued to be a strong pres­ence for good for our school com­mu­nity,” for­mer Brother Martin AD and di­rec­tor of school ser­vices Barry He­bert said in a news re­lease.

“He is a man of char­ac­ter and a phe­nom­e­nal ath­lete, he led by ex­am­ple and made ev­ery­one around him and our school com­mu­nity bet­ter be­cause of his ser­vant lead­er­ship.”

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