Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Auger Commits to Penn

By: Jeremy Leveille
Becoming a Division I college basketball player is very difficult. It’s even more difficult when you need to undergo not one but two surgeries on the same shoulder. With his recent commitment to Penn, Mike Auger (Hopkinton, NH) has beaten the odds and accomplished his goal.

“I’m definitely excited” Auger told the NH Notebook. “It’s always been my dream to play Division I basketball. Dr. Patrick Casey did both of my surgeries, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without him. He was one of the first people to text me congratulations after my commitment.”

The 6-foot-6 forward first injured his shoulder in 2010, and was forced to miss his entire sophomore season at Hopkinton High. The following spring he returned to action on the AAU circuit with the Rivals Basketball Club and transferred to the New Hampton, reclassifying to the Class of 2014.

“Coming from Hopkinton I was always the biggest kid, they just had me stay in the paint with my back to the basket” Auger explained. “But then when I was 14 I started playing with the Rivals. The first thing Vin (Pastore) did was put the ball in my hands, had me bring it up the floor and helped develop my face-up game. Both him and my New Hampton coach (Pete Hutchins) have helped me a lot.”

Auger’s first season at New Hampton was 2011-2012, but then after the season in April he again injured his shoulder and needed to go in for a second surgery on it. He missed the entire 2012 AAU season, and the first couple games of last winter’s high school season.

“I had some setbacks, and a lot of college coaches were hesitant to offer me because of my injuries. I just tried to stay focused though, and do everything on my end to take care of business, do the physical therapy and get back on the court.”

Auger stayed healthy and continued to get better last winter at New Hampton, while playing alongside the likes of Noah Vonleh (McDonald’s American now playing at Indiana) and Dover, NH’s own Mike LeBlanc (recently committed to Princeton). Then he really took his game to another level over the spring and summer of 2013 with the Rivals.

“I started talking to Penn during the summer of 2012, and they offered me this spring” said Auger. My family and I went there on an unofficial visit during the last weekend of August. We met with the coaches, and one of the players showed us around campus. What really impressed me was how much time the coaches put into planning the visit and how they spent all day with me and my family.”

Auger is confident that he will fit right in with the team at Penn.

“I’ll be a stretch 4, and I’m even trying to develop my game to be more like a 3” Auger explained. “I’m ready to go in, be physical, run the floor - I think I can contribute right away.”

Not only will Auger be playing D-I college ball, but he’ll also be attending an Ivy League school with tremendous academic opportunities.

“I’ve always been a good student, and when I transferred to New Hampton they helped me reach my academic potential even more. I want to go into business, and feel the business program at Penn would be a good fit for me.”

Auger has achieved success on the court and off. He’s had to work extremely hard to overcome his shoulder injuries, become and D-I college player and Ivy League student. He certainly has taken care of business.

“They have always supported me through everything I’ve done” Auger concluded, referring to his parents Dan and Gail. “Even though it wasn’t always easy for them, like when I went off to New Hampton. They’re a huge part of me getting where I am, it’s good to have people like that in my life.”

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