PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Talk to T.J. and Robbie Heatherington and you can sense a connection.
“I think we read each other’s mannerisms and eyes really well,” Robbie says. Continuing the thought without missing a beat, T.J. adds, “I wouldn’t say it’s a plan or anything. We just go off each other.”
Watch T.J. And Robbie on the court and it becomes clear.
“They almost have a sixth sense about them,” Point Park’s head coach Bob Rager says about the brothers, who tend to agree with that assessment.
“It’s like I have eyes in the back of my head just for him,” T.J. says. “We play off each other.”
It’s the kind of connection typically only seen in twins, but the Heatheringtons aren’t.
“Thirteen months,” the brothers say near simultaneously when explaining how far apart they were born.
They began playing sports at a young age. The sons of a coach, younger brother Robbie followed older brother T.J. to Point Park two years ago, and this season they’re one of the highest scoring duos in all of NAIA Division 2 basketball.
TJ, at 27 points per game, leads the nation in scoring. Robbie’s not too far behind at more than 15 per game.
“When I first saw them, I knew they were intense,” Rager says. “Bordered on insanity. You can’t coach that and you can’t stop that.”
“We say we’ve got different games,” Robbie says.
“We have different attributes,” T.J. adds.
In describing his older brother, Robbie says T.J. is a better ball handler, who can drive the lane. T.J. says Robbie’s defense far outshines his own. Coach Rager seems to agree.
“Coach always tells me that,” T.J. says. “Tells me to play defense like Robbie so I’ve been working on that.”
And even with more than a year separating them, their bond not to mention their similar looks have caused more than one person to ask if they’re indeed twins.
“Every time we step in an elevator together,” Robbie says laughing.
T.J. quickly picks up on it and tells a story they must have told hundreds of times, but it’s one that likely never gets old.
“We have this horrible thing,” he says,”we’ll match. We don’t live together, and we’ll come out of the buildings and we’ll have the exact same thing on. We’ll be like, ‘You gotta go change.’”
Luckily, wearing the same uniform is not a problem and Point Park is happy to enjoy some brotherly love.