The long and short of it is, these kids are keen to collaborate on a basketball court.
You have five-foot-four point guard Jacob Theodosiou of Waterloo who loves to attack a defence like the player he most admires, National Basketball Association MVP Russell Westbrook of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
And six-foot-three forward Collin Mulholland of Kitchener who loves to shoot, particularly the three-pointer, patterning himself somewhat after Klay Thompson, of the NBA champion Golden State Warriors.
It should be a match made in hoops heaven for the Wildhawk Basketball under-14 team. Not to mention for Canada Basketball, which has selected the players for its developmental Junior Academy Program.
"I think my strength is that I have a good basketball IQ and I have a vision of where everyone is on the court," Theodosiou, a Centennial Public School student, said Saturday morning at RIM Park.
That's where Wildhawk Basketball opened its 24th season of youth development programs in Waterloo Region, under the direction of club founder Dave MacNeil.
"I love it when I can drive to the hoop, the defence comes over to help on me, and then I dish to a big guy," added Theodosiou, who at 12 is playing up an age level with the Wildhawks. "So I'm looking forward to feeding Collin. He's a good shooter and great all-around player."
Mulholland, 13, who describes himself as "more of a really tall guard" in the mould of the six-foot-seven Thompson, is looking forward to being on the receiving end of Theodosiou's passes.
"I'm excited to play with him, too," said Mulholland, a Stanley Park Public School student, who previously played against Theodosiou as a member of the K-W Vipers club. "He's a good point guard and playing against him, he's tough to guard. He's unpredictable."
While they will play on the same Wildhawk team this year, due to their ages Theodosiou and Mulholland will be separated into respective training groups of 19 and 20 players at the Academy. Regular weekend sessions begin after Thanksgiving at Orangeville's Athlete Institute, known for helping propel Kitchener's Jamal Murray to pro basketball with the NBA's Denver Nuggets.
The program, which the boys qualified for after tryouts at Ryerson University in Toronto in mid-September, is the entry point for what Canada Basketball calls its high performance development pathway. This age group does not feature games, which are integrated into the mix beginning with the under-16 program. At this stage it's about instilling Canada Basketball's best practices in order to establish and maintain a consistent approach at all levels on up to the senior national team.
"It's not an exact science at this age," said Canada Basketball manager of youth player development Michael Meeks, a former national team player and 2000 Canadian Olympian who later played professionally overseas after a Hall of Fame career at Buffalo's Canisius College.
"We're trying to build a foundation of athletic potential."
And the athletes must repeatedly prove themselves. Earning spots in the training programs is a year-by-year process, as players climb the age-group ladder.
But Meeks likes what he describes as a 'high ceiling" for both local players.
"The future is bright for these two," Meeks said. "They've got room to grow. Jacob is smart with a great set of skills. He's a headsy point guard with a great work ethic. Collin has the same work ethic and he's physical. He doesn't shy away from contact."
Both players are mature beyond their years, taking a realistic approach fostered by their families.
Theodosiou's father, Doros, a player with and later longtime coach of Waterloo's Bluevale Knights, coaches the Wildhawk under-14 team and has guided his son's development since the boy took up the game at age five.
"I really look up to him. He spends so much time working with me," young Theodosiou said. "But he doesn't push. He wants me to love the game, because I love the game."
It's obvious he does, and he's appreciative of the upcoming Academy opportunity.
"I was pretty excited to make it, but I just want to prove myself " said Theodosiou, who maintains a book detailing his basketball goals, including eventually landing an NCAA scholarship to Duke University, whose youth basketball camp he's attended.
Like Mulholland, he dreams of one day playing in the NBA.
Mulholland comes from an athletically accomplished family of volleyball players.
His mom Janet is a 1992 U.S. Olympian; and his dad Jason was all-American collegiate and later professional player, who led Galt Collegiate Institute to the 1990 all-Ontario high school title. His sisters Nicole (Oakville's Sheridan College) and Maddi (Canadian age group youth team) have also made their mark.
Aware of their achievements and how they reinforce the importance of embracing a step-by-step process, Mulholland — who has dabbled in volleyball — is patiently charting his own course.
"We'll decide on things like college when and if it starts to happen," said Mulholland, whose first basketball experience came as a child, playing with little toy hoops. He pretended to be LeBron James, and has since spent countless hours working on his shooting stroke. Neighbours, his mother says, place bets on whether Collin is practising on the driveway hoop. It's a safe gamble.
"I've got no idea where I'm going to be in five years, but this is probably the biggest thing, so far."
He admits to some nervousness about attending the Academy.
"It's an overnight camp, it's more advanced and I'll be playing with really talented players," Mulholland said. "But it will make me raise the level of my game."
Speaking of levels, Mulholland has more immediate goals.
"To dunk a basketball," he said with a smile.
Karlo Berkovich’s column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org . Twitter: @KarloBerkovich