Surrounded last Friday by a small group of family, friends and teammates from other varsity endeavors, Rylie and Kylie Wade — twin frontcourt pillars central to the last four years of Roanoke Rapids women’s basketball — very quietly went about the business of committing to continue their hoops journey this fall at Meredith College.
As ceremonies go, there was no flash.
No gaudy buzz.
No hyper-busy, look-at-us drama, or intent otherwise to morph their signing day into one for the social media ages.
If anything, the gathering — snapped up in just a few photos before the pair hustled to Hoyle Field for a soccer match — was genuinely modest.
Because that’s just how this duo works, you see, and how it always has — and likely will.
Numbers and hoops IQ
While there is certainly value in glossy statistics, there is perhaps more in a player’s willingness to get lost in them — especially if that means a sense of anonymity is one’s on-the-floor identity.
A rebound here, a block there.
An altered shot.
Cutting off the baseline.
A charge taken.
An outlet pass — timed and tossed in-step to your point guard, kick-starting the primary break — to generate an easy bucket on the other end.
The little things.
It’s how good basketball teams make the leap to being great ones, after all, and how these two sisters — quick students of the game’s many moving parts — spent much of their stay in black-and-gold.
“Their development over the last four years has been phenomenal,” Buzz City coach Jim Whitmire said of the twins, who accounted for 18.5 points and 18.6 boards per contest this winter.
“I can also tell you that, in the beginning, basketball was not their primary sport … but as they developed, and as they got more involved, you know, in the program itself, basketball became, you know, the number one focus — and I am so glad it did.”
Never a doubt … ever
Once in the Cap City, one intends to pursue work in exercise science, while the other has elected to make her way in elementary education.
Helping others, to no one’s grand surprise.
And maybe, just maybe, finally stepping down a schedule that has spanned a dizzying array of seasons these last years, from softball to volleyball to soccer to cross country and, lastly, hoops.
“How do you letter in a sport — any sport — spend four years in school, as difficult as it is to participate in a sport, letter in four or five, and carry a GPA of 4.0 or more,” Whitmire asked during a discussion of the duo’s year-round, never-a-dull-moment timetable. That’s what makes these two kids champions in my opinion.”
As does their approach to life in general, it seems, thematically displayed, per always, in terms of we, not me — a practice that extended to their post-grad choice, narrowed after debating Meredith, Louisburg College and Montreat College, located in picturesque Asheville.
“I could’ve answered that,” Whitmire said of the the decision-making process. “(They) ain’t going nowhere without each other.”
Which, in a world often crazed by individual glory, is really twice as cool.