COLUMBIA — A pair of 6-foot-5 guards were lightly chatting, anxiously awaiting their turn to get into the Columbia College men's basketball game.
Coach Bob Burchard stood up, looked to the end of the bench and pointed at two freshmen, signaling that it was their turn to get into the season-opening blowout win against Concordia Seminary College.
Twin brothers Brock and Blake Walker eagerly jogged together to the scorer’s table to check into the game, just like they had done so many times before.
"We usually come into games at the same time," Blake Walker said.
The identical twin brothers have been playing basketball on the same team for as long as they could they lace up their sneakers, so it was no surprise to see them make their way on to the court at the same time for the first action of their college careers.
“I guess we kind of had it planned,” Brock Walker said. “I know coach probably had it planned for us.”
Even off the basketball court, the twins have a bond they describe as nearly inseparable. They have played the same sports for all of their lives, they chose the same major (business administration) and they finished as co-salutatorians for their high school. Their mother even dressed them exactly the same until fifth grade.
But for all the similarities, the two have different personalities, which transfers to how they play on the court.
Blake Walker tends to keep to himself more, while Brock Walker is more outgoing. In turn, Brock Walker can be a more aggressive, shoot-first sort of player on the basketball court, while Blake Walker's goal is to look for open teammates.
The twin brothers play each other in one-on-one games every day during the summer, with their father serving as the official. Each brother wins his fair share of games.
"Our dad is there to just call fouls as he sees them, he's really relaxed," Brock Walker said. "He makes sure we don't get into any fights, too."
Brock and Blake Walker’s bond was exemplified in the way they were recruited to play basketball at the college level: as a package deal. They never considered attending separate colleges.
“I don’t think we’ve ever been away from each other except maybe for a day or something,” Brock Walker said. “There isn’t much separation at all.”
Brock and Blake Walker’s mother, Terri Walker, said that the twins have only spent one night apart in their entire lives and even then she wondered how they would be able to function without each other.
“If one of our teammates sees us out alone they will ask where the other one is,” Brock Walker said. “It’s a big deal if we are not together.”
For their Columbia College teammates, having twins on the team presents a daily challenge.
“We do a lot of communication in drills, so its easy to yell out 'Brock’ when it is really Blake,” senior forward Greg Stegeman said. “They’ll respond either way, though.”
The brothers have embraced their twin lifestyle, actually preferring to spend as much time together as possible, proven by their decision to be roommates at Columbia College.
The twins also try and use their special bond to benefit them while on the court.
“We enjoy playing together,” Blake Walker said. “People ask if we know what move the other one is going to do next, but we don’t really. We’ve just played so much together, so that helps.”
And they help drive each other to perform better in all aspects of life.
"Blake pushes me to do other things that I wouldn't do if he wasn't there, like that extra sprint, or that extra bit of homework," Brock Walker said.
The Cougars return to the court at 7:30 p.m. Monday when they host Benedictine University at The Arena at Southwell Complex.