Shaq and Kobe: seven years. Jordan and Pippen: nine years. Caleb and Nick? 11 years.
Yale’s own Holmes brothers have been playing basketball together longer than some of the most famed duos in NBA history. Remarkably, neither brother has retired, un-retired or demanded a trade during that span of time.
Caleb and Nicholas Holmes ’08 first played basketball together on an American Athletic Union team in third grade. Since then, they have played together in middle school, high school and now college. The Olathe, Kan. natives are so used to playing together that it is difficult for them to think of any other scenario.
“I really wouldn’t know any other way,” Nick said. “We have always played on the same team and in almost every game together except for a few injuries here and there. That’s why we chose Yale, we could play together.”
The twins were not always sure they would be able to play college ball together. Initially they considered going to separate programs, but they quickly realized that they wanted to stay together.
“At the beginning of our recruitment we were thinking about going to different schools,” Caleb said. “Nick took an official visit to Rice and when he came home we decided that we were going to go together.”
Even after they made their decision, some programs tried to recruit them separately.
“Most coaches knew that we wanted to go together and they recruited us that way but there were some schools that only talked to one of us,” Caleb said.
The Yale Athletics Web site lists Caleb and Nick at an identical 6-foot-6 and 180 pounds. The twins are both versatile swingmen — they have the ball-handling ability of a point guard, the scoring skills of a shooting guard and the toughness of a forward.
“I can honestly say that I have never played with two players who know how to pass the ball as well as these two do,” captain Alex Gamboa ’05 said. “They are both great shooters and will be great Ivy League players over their careers.”
Although they have a similar game, there are some subtle differences in the twins’ styles of play.
“I see Caleb as more of a perimeter swingman, that passes and shoots,” center Dominick Martin ’06 said. “Nick slashes and mixes up a bit more inside.”
Both Caleb and Nick have already seen some playing time for the Bulldogs. Caleb has appeared in 13 games so far, including one start, while Nick has played in nine games. The twins will play a major role for the Bulldogs in the upcoming months and years.
“I think that they will see an increase in scoring, playing time and contributing on the whole,” Martin said. “In fact, they are a part of very good freshman class. I think they all have potential to be Ivy standouts.”
Caleb and Nick showed what they were capable of in high school. They led Olathe South to a 67-5 record over three years, including a 31-1 run in league play. After losing the state title in their junior year, they guided the team to a championship win their senior year — an accomplishment they rank as their best so far. The twins were All-State standouts, McDonald’s All-American nominees, and All-Tournament stars at the Tournament of Champions.
Off the court, the Holmes brothers spend most of their time together. They are roommates in Silliman, have many of the same friends, and spend much of their of time in the weightroom together. And somehow, they still manage to get along.
“I’ve never seen two brothers get along so well, despite all the time they spend together,” Gamboa said. “You can’t meet nicer guys. I’ve never heard either one of them say a bad thing about anybody.”
However, that does not mean there is no room for some sibling rivalry.
“People always say that I am the nicer twin,” Caleb said.