Ennis brothers prepare to face off for 1st time as opponents as SU takes on Villanova

first_imgFor 10 years, Tyler and Dylan Ennis were teammates.Ever since Tyler, 4, started playing on 6-year-old Dylan’s CIA Bounce Amateur Athletic Union youth team, the brothers played together regularly. They often shared a backcourt.Their matchups against each other came only by the hoop in front of their Brampton, Ontario home and at various open gyms throughout their childhood.But on Saturday, that will change — and in a big way. Tyler and No. 2 Syracuse (11-0) host Dylan and No. 8 Villanova (11-0) in a battle of unbeaten teams at 2 p.m. in the Carrier Dome.“It’ll be good,” Tyler said. “We’re always in competition, but we support each other, as well. I think it’s going to be a really good experience for my family, but also us playing each other going in undefeated and Top 10.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThe brothers have different on-court personalities, as Dylan has a more fiery, tenacious demeanor while Tyler is poised, quiet and confident. Separated by two years, Dylan is a redshirt sophomore after transferring from Rice in the spring of 2012, while Tyler is a true freshman.Both are integral parts of their respective teams. Tyler’s 12.1 points per game rank fourth on the Orange while his 5.4 assists per game are a team best. Dylan’s 9.1 points per game off the bench have proven crucial to the Wildcats, who have upset Iowa and Kansas en route to a fast rise in the rankings.“Hopefully it’s a really good game,” Tyler said. “I’m hoping definitely that we win. Hopefully I have a great game against him.”Through a week spent celebrating Christmas at the annual CIA Bounce holiday party and Dylan’s 22nd birthday on Dec. 26, the brothers have been preparing for their first-time face off. Facebook Twitter Google+ It’s a game that both want to win, but also one that both understand won’t come between an incredibly strong family bond. A bond built on basketball — the sport all six of the Ennis siblings play with a passion that controls the family’s year-round calendar.“We never had vacations,” Dylan said. “Vacations were all for basketball tournaments. There was no separation, but we got used to it and we loved it. We love the game so much that having our father as a coach was like a blessing.”For Tyler and Dylan, their relationship on the basketball court started once Tyler could walk. He would follow Dylan and their older brother Brandon, who is a junior forward at the University of the District of Columbia, out the front door of their Brampton, Ontario home and to the hoop in front of their house.Tyler was the kid brother. The one Dylan and Brandon always thought was too young, at the time, but the one who would go out there anyway.“They would always be like, ‘you can’t play,’” Tony McIntyre said. “And he said, ‘well I’m going to play.’ Little street wars.”Their mother, Suzette Ennis, remembers Tyler idolizing his older brothers. They were the reason he loved playing basketball at such a young age, and one of the major factors in him playing up on their teams all the way until high school.He was quieter back then, likely because he didn’t want to upset anyone, she said. Dylan, however, was more vocal during and after games. Sometimes his spats with Tony would carry over to the car ride home, and even back to the house. Nothing that ever damaged their relationship, but Dylan showed more tangible fire than Tyler displayed in those scenarios.“You’d ask him about a game, how he felt, and his thing is he really doesn’t like hurting people,” Suzette said.That confidence in speaking up grew for Tyler as he became a highly touted prospect in high school and his basketball IQ allowed him to connect with coaches on and off the court.On Saturday, that smooth operator will lead the Orange into its toughest test of the season thus far, and will likely match up individually with his brother at times during the game.Both brothers are ready for a battle, but win or lose, as Dylan put it, they’re blood.Said Dylan: “There’s no separating our family.” Commentscenter_img Published on December 28, 2013 at 10:02 am Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1last_img read more