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LSU unveils statue to honor ‘homegrown’ Seimone Augustus

UNITED STATES - APRIL 04: Coll, Basketball: NCAA finals, Louisiana State's Seimone Augustus (33) in action vs Tennessee, New Orleans, LA 4/4/2004 (Photo by Bill Frakes/Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)

On the day LSU women’s basketball honored “homegrown” legend Seimone Augustus with a statue, current Tigers standout Angel Reese made the 15-year former WNBA star feel “old and happy” at the same time.

Reese showed up with a photo she had taken with Augustus in 2011, when the latter played for the Minnesota Lynx. The pair recreated that moment, which highlighted Augustus’ role in growing the game — and her ongoing connection to the LSU program.

“Angel, I mean she made me feel old and happy all in one day with the picture,” said Augustus. “It’s like coaches always say, you never know who’s watching.

“That picture kind of symbolized that as a pro athlete, I wanted to make sure I gave autographs and pictures to some of the younger people that’s in the crowd, not knowing that this day would come but thankful that this day is here because Ms. Reese is now a Tiger.”

Once called the most influential recruit in the history of LSU athletics by former athletic director Skip Bertman, Augustus was enshrined in LSU basketball glory Sunday. The team unveiled a statue of the star outside of Pete Maravich Assembly Center before the undefeated Tigers’ game against Auburn.

Augustus finished her Tigers career in 2006 as the program’s second-leading scorer with 2,702 points. She also set an NCAA record of 132 games of double-figure scoring — which she did in 140 games total.

She also became the first female LSU athlete to have her jersey number (33) retired. The Lynx also have retired Augustus’ jersey. They drafted her No. 1 overall in the 2002 WNBA draft, and she spent 14 of her 15 WNBA seasons with the them.

Her former Lynx teammate Sylvia Fowles was in attendance Sunday as Augustus was honored.

“There’ll never be another Seimone,” said former assistant coach Bob Starkey, who coached Augustus during her time at LSU. “There will be great players, but never another Seimone Augustus. Not at LSU.

“She was homegrown. That’s what make it different. She understands and loves Baton Rouge.”

For Baton Rouge native Augustus, the decision to attend LSU was also a decision to stay home and play ball for her hometown college. She was choosing between Tennessee and LSU, but ultimately decided to play for the Tigers, as they were the first to recruit her long before she topped her recruiting class.

“So many people here in Baton Rouge have followed my career since biddy-ball days so this is a celebration for everyone, not just myself,” Augustus said. “So many people were involved in this journey. I’m just grateful that it’s happening.

“I just felt like the things they were doing (at LSU) resonated most with me. Being at home giving my family, my supporters another four years to really let me become who I needed to become then go out into the world.

“Home is where the heart is.”