COP: The Wears Spotlight

FT. MYERS, Fla. --- David and Travis Wear have slightly different physical characteristics that can be recognized at close viewing, but is there anyone that can concretely separate the games of the 6-10 twins from Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei?

Scouts can't. They've consistently rated the Wears back-to-back in their national rankings. And when pressed this week at the City of Palms Classic to establish some clear differences, they threw up their hands in a state futility.

Coaches can't. Mater Dei head man Gary McKnight has spent several years watching the Wears in practices and games and he is unable to provide an answer.

"I've tried, but to be honest with you there is nothing," McKnight said, when asked about differences in their games. "I wish I could tell you.

"I'll be anxious to see how Roy [Williams] does because I still can't tell them apart."

Speaking of the Tar Heel coach, the question was posed to him last month.

"They are mirror-images," Williams responded. "To try and differentiate between the two of them, I think it's so small that nobody would notice any difference."

And that includes the Wears themselves. Or, better yet, the differences they notice seemingly contradict each other.

"I think the biggest difference is I feel more comfortable in the post a little bit where he is more comfortable on the perimeter," said David, who posted 14 points (6-10 FG) and 10 rebounds in Mater Dei's opening round win over Fayette County.

Travis, who had an unsurprisingly similar 14 points (6-10 FG) and seven rebounds in that game, responded, "At different points, you'll see sometimes I'll attack the basket more and Davis will look a bit more for his shot – shooting rather than going to the rim."

But, Travis, your brother said you were more comfortable on the perimeter …


Travis Wear at City of Palms
"I don't know, it's too confusing … I can't even … Yeah, we have the same game," he finally conceded.

***

The now confirmed collective entity that is David and Travis Wear has undergone a transformation since their last visit to this event in Ft. Myers – numerous local media and fans were overheard reflecting on the changed physique. Two years ago at this event, the Wears were skinny sophomores that played more like small forwards and had secondary roles as Mater Dei took home the tournament title.

"They were at 205, 200 [pounds]," McKnight recalled. "Now they're at 235. Back then people were saying they were finesse, not solid, post players. Well, heck, they were sophomores. Now they're seniors at 235 and they are tough guys in there."

(McKnight added – "I hope [Tyler] Hansbrough hangs around during the summer to beat them up a little, though.")

Most importantly, now that they have the frame of a post player, they've recognized where they belong on the court and have embraced the role.

"We need to work on our post game, so that's our main focus," Travis said. "That's what we need to focus on because we're 6-10."

Their skills on the low block have been on full display this week. In addition to a standard jump hook, David scored several times on his defender by mixing in a lefty hook as well.

"People know that I'm right-handed; they don't expect that shot so it's just easy buckets if they are not going to contest it [since] they don't expect it," David said. "I'm comfortable shooting it so I will shoot it all day if they give it to me."

They are also smart players, quick to recognize their mistakes – "I was dumb and I put the ball on the ground when there were guards around me," Travis acknowledged of a turnover – and quick to recognize the mistakes of their opponents. Travis exploited a defensive error by Fayette County and instead of continuing in the halfcourt set, he took the ball all the way to the rim from 30 feet out for a smooth finger-roll.

"I'm always looking to attack the rim, wherever I am," Travis said. "I saw everyone's back was turned to me so I thought ‘Ok, I'll just take it to the rack.'"

McKnight summarized, "They're athletic big men. They are both talented, they can both go inside and out, they can both run the floor. They're really good kids, and they play well as a team."

The Wears' bodies have matured, as have their skills and approach to the game, yet they acknowledge they have a long ways to go to reach their potential as ACC post players. That outlook is driving them during their senior high school seasons.

"I have to step my game up, I have to play like a college player now," David said. "That's my mind set now -- come out here and do all I'm expected to do to win because that's what I'm going to be expected to do at North Carolina."

That mindset is not about to be knocked off track by growing fame. After the final buzzer sounded Friday night, the Wears worked their way through dozens of autograph seekers and obliged girls' requests for photos.

Travis is quick to brush all that off. "I'll go back to the room and I'll forget about it – I'll just think about what happened in the game, the plays I made and the plays I missed," he said with a conviction that makes you believe him. "I love basketball and I focus on basketball and keep my mind away from everything else. … I think that I need to put a ton of work into my basketball game and I don't have time for anything else."

***

While heading to college will be a coast-to-coast trip for the Wears, there are elements of the North Carolina basketball experience that they're already quite familiar with.

They are used to playing with a target on their team's back, and are familiar with playing alongside elite talents on a team ranked among the best in the nation. Their Mater Dei squad features a starting lineup of five players headed to high Division I programs and their team entered the City of Palms ranked No. 1 in the USA Today Super 25 national poll

"We are the No. 1 team in the country, we are the No. 1 team in this tournament, [and] I think we are the team to beat," David said. "We've just got to play to win."

Travis added, "Every night we have to prove ourselves with that No. 1 spot. We are just trying to win games, and that is how we prove ourselves, by winning every single game that we play. What we need to do is just win."

And as they continue their quest to repeat as state champs, they are keeping tabs on the Tar Heel team also ranked No. 1 in the nation.

"I've been watching all their games as much as I can, talking to Coach Williams and Coach Holladay on the phone," David said. "I've been keeping up with what's going on with the team."

David and Travis Wear, as inseparable as they may be, will join that team in six months.

David Wear Profile
Travis Wear Profile

J.B. Cissell contributed to this report.


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