Basketball is in Julian Hammond III's DNA. Probably more literally than anyone would care to think. The Cherry Creek standout comes from a basketball family.
His parents, Julian II and Ruby, each played at Loyola Marymount. Hammond's grandfather, the original Julian, averaged over 10 points per game for the ABA's Denver Rockets (now the Denver Nuggets of the NBA).
As just a junior in high school the latest version of a basketball playing Julian Hammond averaged nearly 22 points and seven rebounds per game.
And that was after he spent time winning a state title with the other love of his life, Cherry Creek football.
The third Hammond is the walking definition of a do-it-all athlete. Last fall he took the snaps as QB1 of the Bruins and helped them to their first Class 5A state football championship since 2014. Then he traded his shoulder pads for sneakers and got Cherry Creek a No. 4 seed for the state basketball tournament.
"Growing up, I always played those two sports," Hammond said. "I used to play baseball too, but it was those two that always stood out to me."
Make no mistake, if Hammond decided that he wanted to spend his springs on the baseball diamond, Cherry Creek's traditionally strong baseball program would get a boost.
"I hear he can touch low-90's on the mound," boys basketball coach Kent Dertinger said.
He's fine doing what he does for the football and basketball teams. Dertinger acknowledges that Hammond spends time in the fall getting up shots to stay in basketball form.
It's not always easy to keep a consistent throwing routine if forced indoors through the Colorado winter, so it's the spring when Hammond decides it's time to get the majority of his offseason football work in.
The Bruins have benefitted from his balance and it's something that helps him thrive as a top-level athlete.
"I make sure I stay in the gym throughout the football season," Hammond said. "It might be after practice or late at night but when basketball season comes around, I have to feel ready."
His play on the gridiron doesn't seem to be affected. He threw for 2,354 yards and 28 touchdowns last year. Cherry Creek was the last football team standing and that feeling is one that he would love to experience on the hardwood as well.
"There's no better feeling that winning a state championship," Hammond said.
When he's on the field or the court for his team, it's feels like the odds become more in Cherry Creek's flavor. If Dertinger has learned one thing in his time coaching Hammond, it's that he's a player who thrives on being in the spotlight. He points to a basketball game last winter when the Bruins trailed Eaglecrest by nine with less than two minutes left and Hammond scored the nine points needed to tie game.
"(Football coach) Dave Logan once told me that Julian just has a slow heartbeat," Dertinger said. "In tough situations he has this ability to stay calm."
It's an ability that Hammond will put on display for his senior season as he aims to add more wins and potentially more championships to the Bruins' illustrious athletic history.