EDWARDSVILLE, Ill. — Cam and Kelsie Williams have always been in love with basketball. The question is, who taught who?
“I taught him about ball handling. That was me. Shooting? That was me ... Mid-range? Me," said Kelsie with a smile.
Cam disagreed, saying he taught her "everything she knows."
Cam is the older twin, by two minutes.
“A lot of people don’t even know we’re twins actually," said Kelsie.
But regardless of who is "older or wiser," the Hazelwood Central grads are both playing with a special purpose this first season at SIUE.
“It’s been kind of difficult, so we’re kind of happy we came close because it’s easier for our family to show up to our games and watch us play," said Cam.
The Williams' twins lost their father, Rodney, this past September. Although playing for the same college wasn't the initial plan, both siblings are happy to be able to lean on each other this winter and, in a way, dedicate their season to the man who helped inspire them to achieve competitive greatness.
“Obviously losing a loved one is hard," said Kelsie. "So when he’s there [Cam], and I’m having bad day I’m like, ‘Cameron! Ya know!’” And he’s like ‘We’ll be alright.'"
It's been inspiring for both SIUE basketball coaches to watch the twins grow under their program while leaning on each other for emotional support.
“I think it’s really neat," said Paula Buscher, SIUE women’s head coach. "I think what you see is how close they are and how much they back each other and there to support each other.”
Jon Harris, the Cougars' men's head coach, implied the same sentiments.
“It’s really special, really cool for them," said Harris. "You know, mom is here and when she travels she can watch both kids and spend time with both kids. And it’s a pretty cool experience for them.”
Cam and Kelsie are proud to both be Cougars
“Obviously we want to get our degrees. That’s the main point of us coming to this school, but, on the basketball side, we just want to leave our stamp here," said Cam.
And they’re both doubling down on their dreams while at SIUE.
“I really wanted him and I to be known like, ‘Oh those Williams twins were good!’” said Kelsie.
Cam won the Ohio Valley conference co-freshman of the week last week, scoring 27 points against Southeast Missouri.