Augustin Tronou wants to go to college and he believes a basketball scholarship is his best way to get there. “Basketball is my passion but you’ve got to go to school. If you don’t go to school, you can’t be successful,” he said. “Some people try to define me through basketball. It’s not who I am," he said. "I’m just a young man trying to make something out of nothing.”
Augustin holds a basketball during orientation for his job at Greencorps Chicago, a job training program through the city for young people with barriers to employment. The orientation took place in the outdoor playground attached to Alternatives, a youth development center in Chicago's Uptown neighborhood.
Augustin waits for a walk sign across the street from Uplift High School, where he and his teammates are headed to a workout.
Augustin speaks with his mother Dede Agnimou in their Rogers Park apartment. They usually speak in French, the language Augustin learned as a child in Togo. The family immigrated when in 2002 when Augustin was 5.
In a Morton Grove, IL apartment complex, Augustin gets a tattoo that reads "Family First."
Augustin and his high school teammates ride the bus to a game in Mundelein, IL.
Augustin celebrates after Uplift High School beat Simeon Career Academy in an NBU Fall Exposure League game. The game served as a measuring stick for how good the team could be: Simeon was the four-time reigning state champion and is considered a contender for the upcoming season. "We beat Morgan Park. We beat Simeon. Little by little, our name is getting out there," he said. "If we keep winning, that's going to help us."
Augustin's parents never saw him play a game in high school. His two older sisters, Belavi (left) and Elise (right), would occasionally come to his games to cheer him on.
Augustin rests his head against the wall during a game against Lincoln Park High School. He injured his ankle and had to come out of the game.
Augustin hands in his phone before his teachers begin proctoring the ACT, a standardized test measuring college readiness on a scale from 1 to 36. Augustin needs to score an 18 in order to be eligible for a basketball scholarship. On this occasion, he scored what he called a "Steve Nash," or 13, which is the number NBA player Steve Nash wore with the Phoenix Suns. He plans to take it again.
Augustin enters his makeshift bedroom in the family's apartment.
Augustin goes up for a dunk during a game in Metamora, IL.
Augustin shakes hands with a friend at a Fourth of July hotel party that he co-hosted in downtown Chicago.
Augustin approaches the entrance to the Cook Country Courthouse in Chicago for a preliminary hearing on his trial stemming from a July 15 arrest for robbery.
After being arrested for robbery, Augustin recommitted himself to being a regular member of Edgewater Baptist Church.
Uplift High School coach David Taylor speaks with Augustin after a game in which he received a technical foul. Beyond his role as coach, Taylor has served as a mentor and father-figure to Augustin, who insists that his parents not being interested in helping him nurture his passion basketball doesn't bother him. "I have my brother and my coaches. They are the small pieces that help fill that in."
Augustin smiles with his classmates at the 2014 Uplift graduation ceremony.
After Augustin scored 21 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a game at the Proviso West Holiday Tournament, Kennedy-King Coach Robert Holloway asked to meet with him. The coach said he wanted Augustin to learn more about the basketball program at Kennedy-King and invited him to attend a game there. Augustin later decided to attend Kennedy-King Junior College.