They came into the world together and their bond has never broken. While they are soft spoken and laid back, it is hard not to miss the pair walking around campus or playing in a basketball game. Freshmen Katrina and Kiara Marks are identical twins that both play for the Christopher Newport University women’s basketball team.
In a recent game against Shenandoah University the two were able to show off the advantage of having a set of twins on the court at the same time. They played in the game for a good chunk of time and were able to score some points together.
“I was at the high post and would pass her [Kiara] the basketball, it was like a little twin thing,” Katrina stated. Both said that this was their favorite moment together playing for CNU thus far.
While there are several veteran players ahead of them on the depth chart, it is clear that having identical twins on the team is an advantage by not only their presence but also their heightened sense of each other on the court. Because they have been playing together for such a long time, they always know where the other is going to be.
“I don’t know if they necessarily have any built-in telepathy or anything, but you know obviously if you have a roster with 15 people on it you always wonder about relationships and how people are going to get along and all the rest of it,” said Head Coach Jon Waters. “But that’s two people that we don’t have to worry about because chances are they’ve been fighting and killing each other since the womb…So they get along great and both of them have a tremendous amount of care for the rest of the team and about our success.”
Katrina and Kiara decided to make a commitment to Christopher Newport University because CNU was one of the first colleges that truly took an interest in having both of them play for their team.
Playing basketball together and going to the same college was extremely important for the twins since they have been playing on the same team since around fifth grade.
“It’s just easier to play together and to be on the same team,” Katrina said.
Katrina explained that they have always decided to do things together. Before they started playing basketball Katrina and Kiara did karate as kids. Once they began playing basketball, however, the twins realized that they had a natural talent for the sport.
While to the casual observer the twins may seem exactly the same, there are actually quite a few differences between them. Katrina and Kiara said they are in fact two completely different basketball players. Nicknamed “Sleeve” by her teammates, Katrina wears a shooting sleeve and likes to play facing the basket.
On the other hand, Kiara, nicknamed “Key,” is listed one inch taller and likes to stay down low in the post. Still, in the beginning Katrina’s sleeve was the only way the team could distinguish between the two.
The twins said because of their differences in their playing style, they do not need to compete with each other for spots on the team. In fact, they never really have true conflict at all, despite the fact that they both have the same exact class schedule and are always together on and off the court.
“We might goof around on the basketball court but our team just thinks it’s hilarious,” Kiara said. They even room together, and dress in similar fashions.
Senior teammate Jerlisa Bowser stated that the twins seem to be always in sync with each other. Even when there is a pause at practice to explain something it is not uncommon to look over at Katrina and Kiara and see them swinging their arms back and forth or leaning side to side in the exact same rhythm. Bowser’s favorite thing about the twins playing on the team however is when they are put against one another in practice.
When faced against each other, they like to challenge one another to improve. Katrina explained that if Kiara beats her on a post move in practice that just gives her more drive to beat her the next time and stop her.
“Even though they are so quiet they are pretty tenacious on the court and they come after it pretty good,” Waters said.
Waters sees a great amount of potential in Katrina and Kiara as well as the other younger players on the team. He hopes that as a coach he can continue to help them realize their strengths in whatever they set their minds to.
As for the future, the twins recently decided to change their major from Sociology to Business (yes, they have the same major as well). They look forward to continue to grow and improve in all aspects as basketball players, and to become successful in whatever they decide to do. And, of course, they will do it together as long as it is possible.