Feeling the Brotherly Love

Written by Josh Verlin
Published on May 1, 2015

bball team

If there’s one thing that University of the Sciences head basketball coach DAVE PAULEY, MEd, doesn’t have to worry about, it’s team chemistry. In fact, the Devils might just have too much of it.

That’s what happens when seven members of the team are related to someone else on it.

brothersThere are the KERR brothers— GARRET DPT’17, a senior; WES PhB’16, a junior; and TANNER DPT’19, a red-shirt freshman. Then there’s the KERWIN twins—DYLAN PhB’16 and JACK PhB’16, both juniors. Finally there’s the DA-SILVA duo, freshman SHOFOLAHAN (Flo) BI’18 and his older brother SHOFOLARIN (Sho) HumSci’16, a junior.

In Pauley’s 32 years at the school as both an assistant and head coach, he could remember 12 sets of siblings that he’s coached at the same time. Now, he’s got three sets all on the same team.

“I think it’s good, I think there’s a level of comfort. They grew up with each other, they kinda know each other, they know each other’s games,” Pauley said. “We just try to keep it tight; we hope for the family atmosphere, hope that they pull for each other, and I think it’s also kind of neat to have an opportunity to play with their brother not only in high school but in college.”

In 2013–14, USciences went 17- 11 overall, with a 12-7 record in CACC play. They lost to Philadelphia University in the conference semifinals, falling short of a shot at an NCAA Tournament berth.

[Editor’s note: The men’s team captured the CACC South Division title. And while they lost in the CACC tournament semifinals, again at the hands of PhillyU, they earned their first NCAA tournament at-large selection, winning their opening round game before finishing the season with a 25-6 record.]

The only senior in the bunch is Garret Kerr, the team’s driving force and three-time CACC Player of the Year. If the last name sounds familiar, that’s because the brothers’ father, Tim Kerr, enjoyed a 13-year NHL career in the 1980s and 1990s.

For Garret, having his younger brother join him a year after arriving on campus was a no-brainer.

“When he decided that he wanted to play basketball in college, I definitely was on him to come here,” he said. “He’s my best friend; I’ve done everything with him for my entire life, so obviously it’s the perfect scenario having him here.”

“You can’t beat playing with your brother and being with your brother every day,” added Wes, a 6-3 guard who started 27 games this season and averaged 8.1 points per game. And now Tanner has joined them as well.

For the Kerwins, going to college together was always the plan. In their senior seasons at Ridge High School in New Jersey, Dylan and Jack—both 6-2, 195-pound guards—were hearing from separate schools.

Then one night, they filled out an athletics form on USciences’ athletics website. As it turns out, Pauley had seen the two play a week before. He called them that night, and USciences became the only program to offer both brothers a spot on the team.

quote“Our whole lives we’ve done everything together, so it’s just natural; I wouldn’t know how to do it without him,” Jack said.

“College season is so much longer than high school season, and it gets into a grind, so just having your brother there with you to go through together really helps,” Dylan said.

The Da-Silvas had a little more time to figure out if they wanted to go to college together. With two years between Sho’s arrival on campus and Flo’s decision, the younger brother got to weigh his options.

And while schools like Franklin & Marshall made a hard run at him, eventually—just like the others—the appeal of continuing his career with his brother from their years at Bishop Eustace proved too much to resist. “There were a lot of reasons, but he was definitely one of the main reasons,” Flo said. “Going to school with him, playing with him, we’re really family oriented in our family, so I liked being close to him. But the academics and the rest of the team definitely pushed it over the top.”

Sho, is averaging 13.6 points and 4.4 rebounds per game this year, while Flo is adding 5.3 points and 2.3 rebounds per game.

In addition to all the blood relations, there was even more familiarity within the team. All seven hail from New Jersey, and while the Kerwins’ home in Basking Ridge, is closer to New York City, the Kerrs and Da-Silvas were much closer together.

quoteThe Kerrs, who went to Middle Township (Garret/Tanner) and Moorestown (Wes), and the Da-Silvas, who went to Bishop Eustace, hail from Moorestown. Sho and Wes played on travel teams together when they were younger, as did Tanner and Flo; they also played soccer together.

“I’ve known the Kerrs since I was like 10 years old, so that definitely helped,” Sho said. “My dad actually just sent me this picture, and it was me, Flo, and the rest of the Kerrs from a tennis game we went to watch back at Villanova, and I think it was almost 10 years ago. It was really funny just seeing all of us now and how we all ended up in the same college together.”

So far, from Pauley’s perspective, there’s only one real problem with all the brothers.

Ask the Kerwins who has the most trouble telling them apart, and their answer is instant and unanimous—their head coach.

“I’ve coached the Kerwins now for three years, and I can’t tell the difference; I don’t know who I’m talking to,” Pauley admitted, but he takes advantage of the situation. “When they’re playing, I put them in at the same time so if I was yelling, I got two for the price of one.”

Josh Verlin is the owner and editor of CityofBasketballLove.com, which was founded in June 2012. You can follow him on Twitter @jmverlin.


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