Brothers bonding on the court

Basketball: Knights have an impressive two-Wheeler

By: Bruce Campbell

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Jan 22, 2014 06:00 am

Chad Wheeler guards his brother Dylan while playing around at the Holy Trinity Academy gym. Chad has returned to play with his younger brother after taking a year off from the game to play in HTA’s award-winning bands.
Chad Wheeler guards his brother Dylan while playing around at the Holy Trinity Academy gym. Chad has returned to play with his younger brother after taking a year off from the game to play in HTA’s award-winning bands.
Bruce Campbell/OWW

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Holy Trinity Academy point guard Dylan Wheeler seems to be in sync with a basketball player he hasn’t dished the ball to for years. He should know the player well — he and his brother Chad have been dishing up at the same table all their lives.

“We haven’t played together since I was in Grade 7 and Chad was in Grade 8,” Dylan said. “We played community ball together in Okotoks.”

There was a chance last year for the brothers to play together as Dylan was the starting point guard for the Knights as a Grade 10 student. However, Chad was going to the beat of a different drum.

“I really wanted to play last year, but I am also in band,” said Chad, a percussionist with the Holy Trinity Academy (HTA) bands.

“Last year, I played in four separate school bands. So my schedule was already overbooked. I had no chance to play basketball with my other commitments.”

He said he has no regrets.

“I have been in band nearly as long as Dylan has been in basketball,” said Chad. “I do wish I could have had an additional year with Dylan, but band is my passion.”

Besides, the band had a better year than the hoops team. Chad said the bands received top honours at all the festivals they played in.

However, with some gentle coaxing by his brother and coach Sam Aiello, Chad decided to tryout for the Knights in November.

So far, it’s like they have been playing together all their lives.

“When we are on the court, we always know where each other is,” Dylan said.

“So far, there hasn’t been any arguments on the court – everything seems to flow on the court… It’s weird on the court it can get really loud, but somehow I can always hear Chad talking.”

Chad admitted he was a little rusty at the start of the season.

“I caught up pretty quick — I don’t think I lost too much of my skill,” said Chad, who played for the JV team in 2011-12.

“It took a little while to get used to holding the basketball again, but it was good.”

Dylan said he was always the basketball guy of the two brothers. He tried band for a while, but gave it up to orchestrate sweet plays from the guard position.

Chad graciously admitted his younger brother is the better player.

“Dylan no doubt is better than I am,” Chad said with a smile. “Now that we are playing together he pushes me to get better, but I know that if I start to get close or better than Dylan, he’s going to work 200 per cent harder to be better than me.

“He just wouldn’t let it happen — I have come to accept it, but it is still a motivator.”

Meanwhile, watching home movies at the Wheelers is a lot different than watching kids blow out birthday candles.

Mom filmed every game.

“Now that we are both in basketball, we always talk about basketball at the dinner table,” Chad said. “Afterwards we might put on the game film and we’ll tell each other what we might have done wrong or what we could have done better.”

The older Wheeler stressed mom and dad are also taping his band concerts as well.

Aiello said he is glad to have a two-wheeler to ride into the Foothills Athletic Council playoffs and the zones.

He said Chad didn’t miss a beat in returning to basketball.

“He works hard and is a good team guy in the locker room,” Aiello said. “He is definitely more of a defensive focus, but he has had games in double digits a few times.

“Those are points that we weren’t expecting so that is great.”

So far the Wheelers have played like they were in Philadelphia — the City of Brotherly Love.

“There is never any controversy there — they work well together,” said Aiello, who has had a slew of brothers from DeSwarts, Waldners and Vant Erves wear the Knights jersey.

The Knights resume their Foothills Athletic Conference play when they host the Strathcona-Tweedsmuir Spartans on Jan. 29 at 7:15 p.m.

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