Simeon and Sammy Haley stand about seven feet and sit like
collapsible rulers in collapse. Today they're collapsed in the
living room of the apartment they share off the Missouri campus.
Simeon pulls out a box of Fruity Pebbles and pours himself a
mug. Sammy finishes off the box. Simeon spoons the last pebble
out of his mug and refills it with Lucky Charms. Sammy finishes
off the box.
Slim and Slam are what the Tigers call their twin cereal
killers. Substituting for each other as juniors last season, the
raily Haleys combined for 12.5 points and 8.8 rebounds per game.
(Slim had 4.5 points and 3.5 boards; Slam went for 8.0 and 5.3.)
When not spelling one another, they could often be found
completing each other's sentences. Slim says, "There ain't
nothing quiet about my brother..."
"...or my brother," interjects Slam.
"Outlandish to a T. But the two of us..."
"...as one person."
They look alike, they walk alike, sometimes they even talk
alike--you could lose your mind when brothers are two of a kind.
Both flash the same broad, toothy grin. Both are
hotel-and-restaurant-management majors at Missouri. The big
difference is their hobbies. Simeon's, according to the Tigers'
summer prospectus, include "meeting new people." Sammy's, on the
other hand, are "meeting and talking to all kinds of people."
And that's not all. "He's lighter and likes to play inside,"
"He's heavier and likes to face the basket," says Sammy.
"I'm lefthanded," says Sammy. "He's a rightie."
"It goes deep."
Curiously, their favorite twin cities are not Minneapolis and
St. Paul. "They're New York," says Sammy.
"New York, New York," clarifies Simeon.
These particular twin towers were born in Manhattan. Sammy
emerged first. "I'm six minutes older," he says.
"I wanted to come out on a full stomach," alibis Simeon.
They grew up and up and up in the South Bronx. Teachers couldn't
tell them apart. They'd exploit their twinness by taking tests
for each other. And they'd sneak into movies on one ticket.
Simeon: "We did a lot of bad things when we were kids."
Sammy: "Everything bad you could think of doing..."
Simeon: "...we probably did..."
Sammy: "...or thought of doing."
Simeon: "We were just bad."
Simeon and Sammy: "Period."
When they were in ninth grade, their parents, John and
Catherine Garner, moved to Myrtle Beach, S.C., and soon after,
the twins even got to change identities on the basketball court.
With Simeon on the bench with a minor back sprain, Sammy piled
up personal fouls on the floor. By the half Sammy had four. In
the locker room their coach wiped the sweat off Sammy, doused
Simeon with water and had them trade jerseys. "The ref never
knew the difference," reports Simeon, who watched from the bench
as his brother started racking up another bunch of fouls.
Perhaps because the Haleys had a different coach every year of
high school, their play was reckless, turnover-prone. Rather
than keep the ball away from opponents with their long,
pipe-stem arms, Slim and Slam would keep it low, inviting theft.
Yet they were a formidable pair, accounting for 32 points and 26
rebounds a game as seniors.
Their lack of discipline extended from the court to the
classroom. Though highly coveted by colleges, they failed to
make the mandatory 700 on their SATs. Sammy took the test four
times and scored four consecutive 690's. Slim took it four times
and scored four straight 680's. Which just goes to show the
twins are not always identical.
The Haleys wound up at Connors State junior college in Warner,
Okla., where they averaged a total of 30 points and 24
rebounds in their second season. More than 80 Division I schools
courted them, and because there were two Haleys, recruiters were
allowed twice as many phone calls. "It got to be bad," recalls
"Real bad," recalls Simeon. So bad that he yanked the phone from
the wall of their dorm room.
To make a twin killing, a school had to meet the Haleys'
stipulations. Call it a double take: "If they took him..."
"...they'd also have to take him," says Simeon. Coaches had to
guarantee that the Haleys wouldn't have to practice against each
other. "I know my brother's moves too well," explains Sammy.
"Likewise," explains Simeon.
"I make a good play, he makes a good play."
"I block his shot, he blocks my shot."
"We figured we couldn't..."
The twins narrowed their choices to Missouri and Cincinnati. "It
was between Norm Stewart, the crazy old coach ..." says Sammy.
"...and Bob Huggins, the crazy young coach," says Simeon.
Crazy old won out in the end. "Coach Stewart has these eyes,"
"Powerful eyes," says Sammy.
"He can just look at you ..."
"..and break you down."
Stewart somehow broke down the Haleys' demand to start together.
Last year the brothers rarely played side by side. "All I
know..." says Simeon.
"...is good things happen when we're on the same court," says
COLOR PHOTO: BRUCE L. SCHWARTZMAN Simeon (far left, we think) and Sammy give the Tigers a new variation on twin towers. [Simeon Haley and Sammy Haley]
COLOR PHOTO: BRUCE L. SCHWARTZMAN Simeon (45) is a carbon copy of his brother, but Sammy (44) has better stats. [Simeon Haley]
COLOR PHOTO: RICHARD MACKSON [See caption above--Sammy Haley]