Zach Auguste has yet to make a name for himself in the NBA, but fans are already stopping him for pictures.
It’s usually not because someone remembers him as a standout at Notre Dame.
“I can’t tell you how many times (I’m confused with) Ben Simmons or Kyle Kuzma,” Auguste said. “I’ll walk into anywhere and they’ll be like, ‘Can I take a picture with you, Kyle Kuzma? And I’ll be like nah.’ Only a few, if they watched me in college, they know who I am.”
Auguste has done a good job of distinguishing himself as a forward-center with the Kings in summer league. He’s averaging 10.5 points and 6.8 rebounds in his last four games and had 19 points and nine rebounds in Wednesday’s loss to Cleveland.
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Auguste’s energy on the court stands out. With Marvin Bagley III sidelined since last Saturday with a bruised pelvic bone, Auguste has had more chances to show what he can do.
His energetic plays are eye-catching, similar to JaKarr Sampson last summer, when he earned a two-way contact with the Kings.
“I love (Auguste’s) hustle,” said Kings summer league coach Larry Lewis “... He gets in some sneaky areas of the court, especially under the basket where he causes some problems for the rebounders on the other team. “
Auguste (6-foot-10, 243 pounds) was undrafted in 2016 and spent the last two seasons playing in Europe.
Auguste knew his opportunity would come in summer league, so he was patient and engaged even when he wasn’t playing. He has been perhaps the biggest cheerleader from the bench.
“That’s the one thing you can always rely on,” Auguste said. “I’ve always prided my game on energy. If you have energy you’re not only improving yourself, you’re helping the team lift up. And you want to help the team get up so you can get wins.”
Kings forward Harry Giles wasn’t surprised by what he saw from Auguste.
“He was one of the players I always remembered growing up,” Giles said. “I was like, ‘Man, that dude right there goes hard. If I was out there, I’d have to bring it.’ He’s going to talk, he’s going to bring energy, because that’s what he does.”
Auguste hopes his play draws the attention of a team that will give him a chance to play in the NBA after summer league stints with the Lakers (2016) and Miami (2017).
He’s found success in Turkey and Greece, too, but he hasn’t abandoned his dream to play in the NBA.
However, he’d hoped for more success with the Kings this summer. The Kings finish summer league Friday night, and Auguste said, “I want to leave Vegas on a win.”
“My main focus and dream has always been the NBA,” Auguste said. “I’m going to try to crack it. I had a chance my first year out but it didn’t follow through all the way. but I’m going to try to get in this league, and if I can’t, I’m going to go overseas and try again, and I won’t stop.”
Auguste has certainly won over many with the Kings. Sacramento has a lot of players at Auguste’s position, so his best chance might be with another team.
“I love him,” Giles said. “His energy is through the roof. He’s the only person I can say might have more energy than me. He plays hard, he’s good, man. I really hope somebody gives him a chance.”