For all things The Thompson twins part — middle name, appetite for burgers, dynamic basketball skill sets — matching suits on draft night won’t be one of them.
Amen and Ausar Thompson dress for success in their own unique style as they prepare to go their separate ways for the first time. The 6-foot-7 guards out of Overtime Elite are projected in AP mock draft to be selected in the top 10 on Thursday night in New York.
This means that, barring a daring move by one team, they will end up in different cities.
Napheesa Collier had a career-high 33 points and 10 rebounds, Diamond Miller added 18 points in his return from injury and the Minnesota Lynx beat the Seattle Storm 104-93.
This year’s draft class showed that there are multiple ways to enter the NBA with top picks from Europe, the G League, Overtime Elite and the college ranks.
DeWanna Bonner scored 20 points to move into 10th on the WNBA scoring list, Alyssa Thomas had her fifth career triple-double and the Connecticut Sun beat the Seattle Storm 85-79.
It’s a situation that’s still hard for the 20-year-old from California to fully fathom. It’s also a situation that reveals another common trait: their sense of humor.
“We just text each other constantly,” explained Amen who is the older twin by a minute.
“But you don’t check your phone,” Ausar quickly replied.
“He’s lying,” Amen replied.
All kidding aside, their goal is to live up to their shared middle name “XLNC” (pronounced excellent), which was bestowed upon them to convey a sense of power.
“Just so every time you say their name, there’s that power behind it,” said their father, Troy. “Excellence, greatness – we always use all these power words, and they do so in their own expressions, so they always think of the high note.”
The Thompsons moved from the San Francisco Bay Area to Florida when the twins were in eighth grade to further their basketball careers. The playmakers shined at Pine Crest School in Fort Lauderdale, leading the team to a state title. They received offers from several traditional Power Five basketball programs.
Instead they turned.
The Twins took the road less traveled to the NBA draft by signing with Overtime Elitea professional basketball league based in Atlanta that opens another door to the pros for talented young players.
It was a chance to focus on basketball full time and build their strength. So they did, adding 25 pounds of muscle during their two-year stint with the league. A paycheck option, too — Overtime Elite, which launched in 2021, compensates players with an annual salary of at least $100,000.
Their first year, the twins played on different Overtime Elite teams.
Last season they combined – and dominated.
Amen (rhymes with “a pen”) averaged 17.2 points, 9.2 assists and 7.2 rebounds in the playoffs to lead the City Reapers to the championship.
Not to be outdone, Ausar (rhymes with “a car”) had a postseason in which he averaged 21 points, 4.8 assists and 5.2 rebounds.
When it came time to vote league MVP award in the regular season, it was no surprise who voted for whom.
Ausar for Amen.
Amen to Ausar.
Ausar got the MVP (along with the postseason version as well).
“It would have been fun” if Ausar won by one vote, Amen joked. “I would have taken mine back.”
They enjoy teasing each other – and pushing each other. They are always in the gym, lifting shots or working on their footwork. They are also competitive, whether it’s in friendly games on the court or in the video game NBA 2K, where they agree – Ausar reigns supreme on the video game controller in braces.
Their go-to meal comes from In-N-Out Burger. Ausar prefers a double cheeseburger with lettuce and special sauce, maybe grilled onions. Amen likes the same, just keep the cheese.
Amen’s scouting report reads: Explosive athleticism, with exceptional court vision. Can break down defenders with his ball handling skills and elite moves.
Ausar’s Report: Essentially the same as his brother.
Ausar projects as more of a combo guard and Amen as a ball handler in the NBA. Amen is expected to go fourth overall to Houston and Ausar sixth to Orlando.
Their father saw a path for the twins to be elite when they were about 8, going against players three, sometimes four years older.
“You knew their forward trajectory was going to be fast because they were already improving at such a high rate,” Troy said. “From here, I’m just going to enjoy watching them continue to grow into this dream and just achieve the greatness they’ve always talked about.”
They describe their bond as “twin telepathy,” which Ausar said comes in handy not just on the basketball floor, but in life.
Don’t ask for details though, because it’s top secret.
“It would be bad for the world if everyone knew how to do it. I just know where he will be at all times,” Ausar said.
Leading into the draft, they have been traveling to work out for interested teams. In Portland they met Damian Lillard. A year ago, they were introduced to Golden State Warriors great Stephen Curry at his camp.
“It’s super cool to meet them,” Ausar said.
Amen and Ausar said they have competed against many of the big names in the draft class with the exception of Victor Wembanyama, the French star expected to be No.1 to the San Antonio Spurs.
The twins are preparing for the likely separation and distance between them. They’re even planning the big moment when both meet on the same NBA court at a soon-to-be-determined location.
“That,” said Amen, “will make a cool picture.”
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