When the NBA Draft kicks off Thursday night at Barclays Center, it could be a sibling showdown.
In this year’s aspiring professional class are two sets of siblings: Buddy of Syracuse and Jimmy Boeheim and Trey and Bryce McGowens of the University of Nebraska. (There were nearly three: Keegan Murray is expected to be one of the top five picks while his twin brother Kris decided to return to the University of Iowa earlier this month.)
While not unprecedented, “It’s pretty rare,” Roc Nation agent Drew Gross, who represents both the Boeheims and the McGowens, told The Post. “It was nice to see how they root each other.”
Twins Jason and Jarron Collins were both drafted in 2001. Brook and Robin Lopez were selected by Stanford in 2008. And in 2011, twins Markieff and Marcus Morris were chosen one after the other in the first round. But NBA glory isn’t a dunk. There’s Andrew Wiggins, who was the first overall pick in 2014 while his brother Nick didn’t pick the draft and played overseas.
Likewise, the McGowens and Boeheim siblings have different projections, with both younger siblings supposed to get a look first. Here, they talk to The Post about sharing a special bond as they pursue their NBA dreams.
Former Nebraska star Bryce McGowens, 19, was looking for more than a flashy style statement when he came up with his sketch look – he wanted to honor his older brother, Trey.
“I went in a light gray suit,” Bryce told the Post. “He’s got Trey’s shirt and my shirt stitched on the inside… Without him, I wouldn’t be on stage as I am now. He taught me a lot along the way ”.
The sartorial homage is a sweet touch for South Carolina natives. “I don’t want to be too soft. I’m happy. I keep it a little bit, “Trey, 22, told The Post.” It’s hugely exciting because we really did it together. “
Now, the brothers are vying for a spot on an NBA roster. They signed with the same agent and lived within minutes of each other in Las Vegas, where they trained during most of the drafting process.
“We talk every day. After each workout we call each other to see how that workout went, ”said 6-foot-4 Trey.
The couple hadn’t been on the same team since they were 5 and 8 years old. But in the last year they have remedied. In 2020, Trey moved from Pitt to the University of Nebraska and although he insists he didn’t influence his brother, Bryce followed suit.
“When I found out that Bryce was coming to Nebraska, I was thrilled because we never got to play high school prom together. And in the Big Ten, having someone on your side helped. If the freshmen are doing as well as he was doing, there may be some jealousy. Just to have someone who wants the best for him, ”said Trey of his brother, who last season averaged 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists.
The couple comes from an athletic family. Their father Bobby played both soccer and basketball in the state of South Carolina while their mother Pam played college hoops. They decided to put the draft in separately and said their shared path wasn’t designed, but it was a bonus.
“Literally everything keeps aligning perfectly. It’s crazy, ”Trey said.
They didn’t work with any team together, but each organization asked the brothers to research the other.
“They asked me who is the best player I have played with. It’s Bryce without a doubt. That was the simplest question I got during the whole drafting process, “said Trey, describing his little brother as” sweet. He’s a good guy “.
Bryce is expected to be a late round one or round two pick. Meanwhile, Trey, whom Gross called “undervalued,” has more to prove. He missed part of last season with a broken foot.
“When I got into the draft, I knew I would have to work for my seat. I understand it takes time, ”said Trey, who added that there will be no jealousy between siblings if he hears his brother’s name being called.
Bryce echoed the sentiment: “We knew we were going to have two different paths, but he’ll get what’s his.”
During the months-long drafting process, the family message thread, which is about 20 relatives deep, lit up each morning with Bible verses and inspirational words from their grandparents. “Our family has always had ten toes behind us,” Bryce said, adding that “they travel in packs.”
In this spirit, the family will most likely rent a charter bus from South Carolina to New York City. They will reunite at the 40/40 club where they will hopefully celebrate at least one, hopefully two, NBA newbies.
But instead of expecting a champagne bath, Bryce is hoping for a more comforting treatment.
“My Aunt Stacey and Uncle Maurice make the best cookie pudding,” she said. “We hope they bring it. Now I’ll send him a message. “
As children, Jimmy and Buddy Boeheim were notoriously competitive with each other. “It was probably more unhealthy than anything else,” Buddy, 22, told The Post. The sons of legendary Syracuse manager Jim Boeheim said their fighting behavior was mainly played out in the family playroom where they would battle over their Little Tikes hoop.
“We would play for every single day for hours and every single time it ended in a fight,” Jimmy, 24, told The Post. “Someone ran to cry to my mom and dad and tried to establish rules where we were not allowed to enter [the room]. We sneaked in and played. My father tried to referee and then we started yelling at him. ”
But they left sibling battles behind as a goal to become pro, a process that included training for the Knicks together. Jimmy played at Cornell and attended a graduation year at Syracuse last season, playing alongside his six-foot-tall brother, who became known as “Buddy Buckets” after leading the Orangemen to the Sweet Sixteen in 2021.
When it came to signing an agent, they admitted it was a “package” and chose Gross of Roc Nation, a former Syracuse team manager. They moved into the Sky building on West 42nd Street, where they share an apartment and learn to live outside the Boeheim bubble to the north.
The couple slept together in Syracuse last year, and Buddy admits that his mother Juli periodically made his bed and cleaned his room. “She was crying at how dirty it was. I’ve gotten a little careless … I’m messy. He’s clean, ”Buddy said of his 6-foot-8 brother.
“I’m training him day by day. I had him put a plate in the dishwasher today. My mom would have been impressed, “Jimmy said.
Looking towards a postgraduate career in circles is a surreal place for both of us. “I’ve always thought about playing at Syracuse and that’s all I’ve ever wanted. I didn’t even know I would be able to play there. I’ve never been a good player growing up, “said Buddy.
The two acknowledged that they were late on the court, even though they lived, breathed and ate Syracuse basketball. Between the Orangemen and their father’s time as Team USA manager, they were surrounded by their idols, some of whom they watched as they visited teams during the drafting process.
“I saw Apple tree a few weeks ago. She wrote to me before the games and gave me advice. That means a lot, “said Buddy, adding that he checked in with former Cuse star Dion Waiters, Michael Carter Williams, Clipper assistant Wes Johnson and former Team USA star and current Warriors. Andre Iguodala.
“He hugged me and told me to do my thing and everything will work out,” said Iguodala’s Buddy. “We’ve come full circle for sure. They are watching you and cheering for you and you admired them as children. It’s very beautiful.”
Neither will be at Barclays for the draft. They will reunite with friends and family in the Big Apple and wait to know their destiny in basketball.
“I don’t know what the process will be, but I have goals to play in the NBA and I want to be there. It’s about taking advantage of the opportunity, ”Buddy said, adding that he doesn’t have a back-up plan, except to follow his dad into coaching in the not-so-near future.
Meanwhile, Jimmy, who holds a degree in finance, hopes he doesn’t have to use it. Even if that means he ends up in Europe.
“This process opened me up to front office work. I’m more interested in this than in coaching, “she said.
And if young Boeheim can make it into the NBA, the elder said there won’t be a return to those fierce days in the arcade where every competition has ended in tears.
“We want each other to go as far as possible,” Jimmy said. “I can play at the YMCA and me [still] I want him to get as far as possible in the league. “