Julien's career at St. Amant ends with District MVP

Kyle Riviere
Courtney Julien ends his career at St. Amant with 1,307 career points. Photo by DKMoon Photography.

Basketball season in Ascension parish featured many new faces and many restructured rosters.

It saw freshmen and sophomores stepping in and being forced to grow up quickly. It saw veteran players finally getting the opportunity to start after years of waiting in line.

It all understandably created plenty of flux throughout the season.

Things seemed to change with every week. However, one thing remained the same: Courtney Julien was the best the parish had to offer.

It truly became routine to see him pour in 20 and 25 points each night as he navigated through traffic and glided to the basket to put home another tough lay-in. It was just him living up to his nickname and being "Smooth."

Whenever head coach Travis Uzee and his teammates needed him to step up and make a play, he usually did.

After a huge win over Catholic where Julien scored 20--including nine in the fourth quarter, Uzee said, "We have a kid named Courtney Julien. When we need someone to step up and make a play, that kid just seems to figure it out. He's a special kid, a special everything. He's just an amazing player."

Julien was rewarded for his special season last week as the All-District 5-5A team was announced. Not only did he make the first team, he was named the district's MVP.

"It's a huge honor," Julien said. "I really wanted to win it last year, but the main thing was I was trying to help my team do the best that they could."

It was last year that Julien quickly emerged as one of the best players in Ascension parish.

Despite being his first season as a starter, he proved to be a prolific scorer on his way to claiming first-team all-district honors.

As good as he was, Julien ascended to another level this season. He went from being very good to almost unstoppable. He went from being one of the best players in the parish to one of the best players in the state.

For the year, he averaged 24 points a game on 62 percent shooting. He also shot 41 percent from behind the arc and 80 percent from the free-throw line.

This transformation didn't just come out of the blue; it was built on Julien's sweat last offseason.

"I just worked hard and got after it," Julien said. "This summer, I really worked out a lot and got my body stronger. I hit the gym really hard."

As a result, Julien and his teammates were able to almost completely flip their record from last year. They went from being 11-20 and 0-10 in the district to 19-12 and 6-4 in league play.

Unfortunately for the Gators, they lost their final two games of the season. The two upset-defeats eliminated them from playoff contention.

It's certainly not how Julien wanted to end his high school career, but it's still a season he'll always remember. It was such an enjoyable time for him to end things with his three fellow seniors: Nick Griffin, Durrel Smylie and Crandell Christoff.

"It was a great season; I loved it. I wouldn't trade my teammates for anyone else in the world. We had a great year," Julien said. "We had to really battle at times; we just came up a little short at the end. We knew we had a chance to make the playoffs; it just didn't go our way."

Now that his St. Amant days have come to a close, Julien is ready to start the next phase of his basketball career at Texas State.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity," Julien said. "I'm ready to get it. I'm ready to start the next chapter in my life and get things started."

Julien signed with the Bobcats in the final hour of the early signing period back in November.

They quickly dished out a scholarship offer to him after one of their scouts was in attendance to see him explode for 42 points in St. Amant's season-opening win over Denham Springs.

Now, he's ready to make the trip to San Marcos, Texas, and do whatever he can to help the Bobcats.

"I think I can bring scoring, great ball-handling, court-vision and just my attitude toward winning," Julien said. "I'm willing to do whatever they need me to do."