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Brothers Boeheim and McGowens pursue career dreams

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When the NBA Draft kicks off at Barclays Center on Thursday night, it could be a showdown between brothers.

Among this year’s class of aspiring pros are two sets of brothers: Buddy from Syracuse and Jimmy Boeheim and Trey and Bryce McGowens from the University of Nebraska. (It was almost three o’clock: Keegan Murray is projected to be a top-five pick, while his twin brother Kris opted to return to the University of Iowa earlier this month.)

While unprecedented, “it’s pretty rare,” Roc Nation agent Drew Gross, who represents both the Boeheims and McGowens, told The Post. “It’s been great to see how they support each other.”

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Twins Jason and Jarron Collins were selected in the 2001 draft. Brook and Robin Lopez were selected from Stanford in 2008. And in 2011, twins Markieff and Marcus Morris were selected back-to-back in the first round. But NBA glory is not a piece of cake. There’s Andrew Wiggins, who was the No. 1 overall pick in 2014, while his brother Nick went undrafted and played overseas.

Similarly, the McGowens and Boeheim brothers have different projections, with both younger brothers expected to get older looks. Here, they talk to The Post about sharing a special bond as they pursue their NBA dreams.

The McGowens

Former Nebraska star Bryce McGowens, 19, was looking for more than an eye-catching style statement when he crafted his draft look: He wanted to honor his older brother, Trey.

“I went in a light gray suit,” the 6-foot-7 Bryce told The Post. “It has Trey’s jersey and my jersey sewn on the inside… Without it, I wouldn’t be at the stage I’m at right now. He taught me a lot along the way.”

Trey (standing) and his younger brother Bryce McGowens pose together at the University of Nebraska.
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The dress tribute is a sweet touch for native South Carolinians. “I don’t want to be too soft. I am happy. I keep it a little bit,” Trey, 22, told The Post. “It’s extremely exciting because we really did it together.”

Now, the brothers are vying for a spot on an NBA roster. They signed with the same agent and lived within minutes of each other in Las Vegas, where they trained for most of the draft process.

“We talk every day. After every workout, we call each other to see how that workout went,” said 6-foot-4 Trey.

Trey and his younger brother Bryce McGowens as children.
Trey and his younger brother Bryce McGowens as children.
family photo

The pair had not been on the same team since they were 5 and 8 years old. But over the past year, they have made up for it. In 2020, Trey moved from Pitt to the University of Nebraska, and though he insists he didn’t influence his brother, Bryce followed suit.

“When I found out that Bryce was coming to Nebraska, I was excited because we never got to play together in high school. And in the Big Ten, having someone on your side helped. A freshman who was doing as well as he was, there might be some jealousy. Just to have someone who wants the best for him,” Trey said of his brother, who averaged 16.8 points, 5.2 rebounds and 1.4 assists last season.

Both Bobby and Pam McGowens played Division One ball. They appear here with their sons, Trey and Bryce, and daughter Raina.
Both Bobby and Pam McGowens played Division One ball. They appear here with their sons, Trey and Bryce, and daughter Raina.
family photo

The couple comes from an athletic family. Her father, Bobby, played football and basketball at South Carolina State, while her mother, Pam, played basketball in college. They decided to enter the draft separately and said that their shared path has not been by design, but it has been an advantage.

“Literally, everything just keeps lining up perfectly. It’s crazy,” Trey said.

They didn’t work together with any team, but all organizations have asked the brothers for scouting reports on each other.

Trey McGowens with his younger brother Bryce McGowens as children.
Trey McGowens with his younger brother Bryce McGowens as children.
family photo

“They asked me who is the best player I have ever played with. It’s Bryce without a doubt. That was the easiest question I got during the entire draft process,” said Trey, who describes his little brother as “sweet. He’s a good guy.

Bryce is projected to be either a late first-round pick or an early second-round pick. Meanwhile, Trey, whom Gross called “underrated,” has more to prove. He missed part of last season with a broken foot.

“When I got to the draft, I knew I was going to have to work for my spot. I understand that it takes time,” Trey said, adding that there will be no sibling jealousy if he hears the name of his brother from him.

Bryce echoed the sentiment: “We knew we were going to have two different paths, but he’s going to get what’s his.”

During the months-long drafting process, his family message chain, which is about 20 relatives deep, was lit up every morning with Bible verses and inspirational words from his grandparents. “Our family has had ten fingers behind us the whole way,” Bryce said, adding that “they travel in a pack.”

In that spirit, the family will most likely charter a charter bus from South Carolina to New York City. They will meet at the 40/40 club where they will hopefully celebrate at least one, hopefully two, NBA rookies.

But instead of looking forward to a champagne bath, Bryce looks forward to a more comforting gift.

“My Aunt Stacey and Uncle Maurice make the best cookie pudding,” she said. “I hope they bring it. I’m going to text them now.”

the boeheims

As children, Jimmy and Buddy Boeheim were notoriously competitive with each other. “It was probably more unhealthy than anything else,” Buddy, 22, told The Post. The sons of legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said their combative behavior took place mostly in the family game room where they wrestled on their Little Tikes hoop.

Jimmy (left) and Buddy Boeheim pursue their NBA dreams together.
Jimmy (left) and Buddy Boeheim pursue their NBA dreams together.
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“We played for hours every day and every time it ended in a fight,” Jimmy, 24, told The Post. “Someone would run out crying to my mom and dad and they would try to make rules that we weren’t allowed in. [the room]. We would sneak around and play. My dad would try to officiate and then we’d start yelling at him.”

But they’ve put their brothers’ battles behind them as their goal to turn pro, a process that has included working together for the Knicks. Jimmy played at Cornell and graduated from Syracuse last season, playing alongside his 6-foot-6 brother, who became known as “Buddy Buckets” after leading the Orangemen to the Sweet Sixteen in 2021.

Buddy and Jimmy Boeheim shake hands with their father, legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
Buddy and Jimmy Boeheim shake hands with their father, legendary Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim.
Boeheim Family Brochure

When it came time to sign an agent, they admit they went a “package deal” and went with Roc Nation’s Gross, a former Syracuse team manager. They moved into the Sky Building on West 42nd Street, where they share an apartment and learn to live outside the North Boeheim bubble.

The couple slept last year in Syracuse, and Buddy admits that his mother, Juli, periodically made his bed and cleaned his room. “She cried because of how dirty she was. I got a little sloppy… I’m messy. It’s clean,” Buddy said of his 6-foot-8 brother.

“I am training him day by day. I asked her to put a plate in the dishwasher today. My mom would be impressed,” Jimmy said.

Looking ahead to a basketball career after college is a surreal place for both of them. “I always thought about playing in Syracuse and that’s all I ever wanted. I didn’t even know that I would be able to play there. I was never a good player growing up,” Buddy said.

The two acknowledged they were late on the court, even though they lived, breathed and ate Syracuse basketball. Between the Orangemen and their father’s Team USA training period, they were surrounded by their idols, some of whom they have seen while visiting teams during the draft process.

Buddy (left) and Jimmy Boeheim as competitive little boys.
Buddy (left) and Jimmy Boeheim as competitive little boys.
Boeheim Family Brochure

“I saw me A few weeks ago. He would text me before games and give me advice. That means a lot,” Buddy said, adding that he has reached out to former Cuse standouts Dion Waiters, Michael Carter Williams, Clipper assistant Wes Johnson, and former Team USA and current Team USA star the Warriors, Andre Iguodala.

“He gave me a hug and told me to do my thing and everything would be fine,” Buddy said of Iguodala. “The safe circle has been closed. They are watching and supporting you and you looked up to them as a child. It’s great.”

Neither will be at Barclays for the draft. They will gather with friends and family in the Big Apple and wait to learn their destiny in basketball.

“I don’t know what the process will be, but I have goals to play in the NBA and I want to be there. It’s about seizing the opportunity,” Buddy said, adding that he doesn’t have a backup plan except to follow his father as a coach in the not-so-near future.

Meanwhile, Jimmy, who has a degree in finance, hopes he won’t have to use it. Even if it means he ends up in Europe.

“This process has opened me up to reception work. I’m more interested in that than training,” she said.

And if the youngest Boeheim makes it to the NBA, the oldest said there won’t be a flashback to those ferocious days in the arcade where all competitions ended in tears.

“We want the rest of us to go as far as we can,” Jimmy said. “I can be playing at the YMCA, and [still] I want him to go as far as he can in the league.”

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