No strangers to seeing identical twins roaming around the Novant Health Training Center, the Charlotte Hornets hosted the siblings who’ve climbed into the upper reaches of many NBA Draft boards.
Kicking off a stretch of noteworthy sessions over the coming days, the Hornets worked out Overtime Elite’s Amen Thompson and Ausar Thompson on Friday, according to league sources. Unlike most of the team’s previous drill sessions testing candidates ahead of the June 22 draft, the workout with the Thompsons was closed to the media.
But they are an intriguing pair, bypassing their final year of high school to join the new professional league based in Atlanta two years ago. The combo guards check in around 6-foot-6, 211 pounds, each possessing similar but still different skill sets.
Born and raised in Oakland, California, the Thompsons relocated to Florida to play varsity basketball in eighth grade, and were named state co-players of the year during their junior year after leading Pine Crest (Fort Lauderdale) to a championship.
In two seasons with Overtime Elite, both twins were first-team, all-league honorees. Ausar also was named most valuable player of the finals in March as the City Reapers won a championship.
“I can say a lot of great things about those guys,” fellow Overtime Elite prospect Bryce Griggs, a member of the Cold Hearts, said after working out for the Hornets on Thursday. “They work hard. Last year, they really couldn’t shoot well. All summer they’ve been working on their shot consistently. Even during the summer, they were asking me how to get their ball-handling tighter, just little things like that.”
Constantly desiring more rubbed off on Griggs and other players.
“They want to be great,” Griggs said. “(They’re) guys who want to push and be better every day. They just want it And they got better over the year, and you see why they are going high.”
At least the team that selects each won’t have to worry about figuring out who is who, as was the case when the Hornets had both Cody and Caleb Martin. Griggs can laugh now about the early confusion the Thompson twins presented when he initially met them.
“The first couple of weeks it did,” Briggs said. “But Amen kind of has a sharper jawline and Ausar’s face is kind of a little more round. So, it’s kind of easy to identify them, but they are definitely identical.”