INDIANAPOLIS — Seimone Augustus gained fame as a basketball player before she reached her teens and has played at a high level for more than two decades.
Being honored at one of the highest levels was the next logical step for the former Capitol High star, who was inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame Sunday night at the JW Marriott.
“Greatness doesn’t have an age and she reached it at an early one. The legacy Seimone left in Baton Rouge is a significant one and when she spoke yesterday at the press conference you could see that she’s all about her roots and where she came from,” LHSAA executive director Eddie Bonine said. “It made me proud and should make all of us proud as Louisianaians. Yes, she’s in the WNBA, but she knows where she came from and she handles herself like a true professional. Seimone deserves this.”
Augustus was one of 12 inductees for the National Federation of High Schools-based hall of fame. Former NFL star Derrick Brooks, ex-Major League Baseball player and manager Dusty Baker and legendary Indiana high school basketball star Damon Bailey were the other marquee names in the induction group for what is the NFHS' 100th anniversary celebration.
There were no formal speeches by the inductees. On a pre-recorded video, Augustus smiled as she talked about her high school career and also had a little fun at her father Seymore’s expense.
“It is amazing to be able to experience this with my family. I do joke about my daddy and his training regimen,” Augustus said. “Now he gets to talk confidently and boast. He’ll say, ‘You complained about my training then … look where you’re at now.”
At 35, Augustus is still an active WNBA player for the Minnesota Lynx. She was inducted into the NFHS hall of fame in her first year of eligibility based on her exploits at Capitol from 1998-2002. Augustus scored 3,600 career points, had 1,728 rebounds and was a two-time Miss Basketball award winner. Capitol compiled a 138-7 during her four seasons, including 52 straight wins and two LHSAA Class 4A titles to close her career.
Augustus also was featured on the cover of Sports Illustrated for Kids in 1999 and played in the first McDonald’s All-American Game for girls in 2002. She then led LSU to three Final Four appearances and was voted the national Player of the Year twice. Augustus has won three gold medals with the U.S. Olympic team, was the WNBA Rookie of the Year in 2006 and has helped the Lynx win four WNBA titles.
The cross-over dribble and no-look passes that were Augustus’ signature moves at Capitol provided memories for fans. The memories she cherishes are just a vivid.
“It (high school sports) is about building character, learning how to be selfless, sacrificing for the sake of the team and just learning and growing,” Augustus said. “As an only child, basketball was a way for me to make friends and for me to engage with different people from different walks of life.
“But what was most important was how the community came together. It was cool to go through that journey and experience it. Capitol High School was like the centerpiece of our community and to see them (people in the community) embrace us and girls basketball during that time was an amazing feeling.”