by Nicholas Williams
The Eagle basketball team was playing in their most intense game of the season, on Jan. 19, playing the St. Pius X Panthers in Reckling Gymnasium. The bleachers were packed and the noise was deafening.
The rowdy environment is a huge contrast from the silent, parent-filled crowds of middle school, where freshmen Colin and David Jones were playing basketball just a year ago.
Now, the twin guards are contributing off the bench for Eagles’ varsity team – the youngest on court, playing unafraid.
“They are already contributing a lot,” coach Johnathan Kwok said. “David has been playing a lot and Colin hit a three late in the fourth in the Beaumont Kelly game this season.”
Their success so far has not been a surprise, as they are both standouts on their Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) basketball team, the Houston Elite.
The twins have been impressive. They are the first freshmen to play varsity for the Eagles since the 2008-2009 basketball season when Aaron Durley (TCU) and Jeremy King (Loyola-IL) did so.
Despite their rare athleticism, they consider themselves just like everyone else.
“It is definitely a special feeling to be playing varsity basketball,” Colin said. “But my brother and I try to not get cocky about it and not let it get to our heads.”
Their first game was in the Westside Tournament. They were called up due to lack of depth in the backcourt.
“During the Westside tourney, Josh Reece got hurt and [junior] Jakobi Nunn got in foul trouble.” Kwok said. “We realized we needed more guards in case these two couldn’t play.”
Though they have the talent, David admits there is a difference on the varsity level for basketball.
“I just remember how much faster of a game it was than a freshmen game,” David said.
Though this is their first year playing varsity basketball, David is familiar with the varsity level. He started at cornerback for the varsity football team towards the end of the season, including the playoffs.
“I felt like I fit in well,” David said. “There was not much of a difference to me besides the other players that were stronger.”
Colin, on the other hand, started on the junior varsity squad.
David also got to play in the St. Pius game, while Colin did not.
The disparity can sometimes cause a sense of rivalry between the two.
“There is definitely a big rivalry between me and my brother,” Colin said. “I like it because we push each other to do more than what is needed and we are never satisfied with our performances because one of us will do better than the other. These things make us better players.”
Even though they are twins, they are different players, allowing them to compliment each other well on the court.
“My brother has qualities that I don’t have, and I have things that my brother doesn’t have,” Colin said. “But that’s what makes us a total package when we play together.”
“We both are good scorers and good shooters,” David said. “But I tend to drive to the rim more and use a pull-up jumper, while Colin shoots the three ball or looks to dish the ball off for an assist.”
Kwok has also noticed the difference in the two.
“Both are very talented but they have different games,” Kwok said. “Colin is a true point guard and David is a true shooting guard. When they play together there is a synergy between them.”
David is enjoying and learning from his time on varsity.
“Playing against older players has given my brother and I a sense of how hard we need to work in order to compete with them.”
Their older brother, Andrew, ’11, has been helping them adjust to the varsity level. He was a two-year letterman for the basketball team and shares his experience with his younger twin brothers to help make them better players.
“It is very helpful to have a former varsity player as an older brother,” Colin said. “I have learned more from him than I have from any other coach or any other player. From a two minute conversation to a hard workout in the gym, he is always trying to make [David and I] better players.”
Despite the minimal playing time the two are getting, they are enjoying the valuable minutes they are getting and are impressing the upperclassmen.
“They both have a really high skill set and have a great feel for the game,” senior PJ Pane said. “They know how to make plays when they get the opportunity.”
Kwok agrees that they are natural playmakers.
“They have had big minutes in big games this season,” Kwok said. “Next year as sophomores I expect them to have a great jump in their abilities.”
Pane, who has been playing on the varsity level since sophomore year, knows what it feels like to be the youngest kid on the team.
“It’s tough,” Pane said. “You don’t really know your teammates that well and they have been playing together for at least a year or two, so you just feel really new to everything.”
“As a freshman I am definitely gaining great experience on varsity,” Colin said. “After playing against older competition this year hopefully my brother and I will be ready to play against the top competition in the next few years.”