And while Hofstra juniors Ameen Tanksley and Juan’ya Green are not twins, they remind the coach of his sons.
“I know what it means when people talk about twin talk, I live it every day,” Mihalich told SNY.tv. “When I see these two guys together, they’re like twins. These two guys are just so close and they play so well together, and they’re best, best, best friends. They’ve been roommates, they’ve been buddies since they were 10 years old.”
The two juniors from Philadelphia have helped the Pride get off to a quick 5-2 start, with the 6-foot-5 Tanksley averaging 18.4 points and 5.9 rebounds and the 6-2 Green averaging 18.3 points and 6.7 assists.
While Green is the higher-profile player, it is Tanksley who’s gotten off to the more remarkable start.
In Tuesday’s 88-74 win over Norfolk State, Tanksley scored a career-best 30 points while shooting 9-for-9 from the field, including 5-for-5 from the arc.
“Juan’ya’s always been the guy everybody wants to talk about because I guess he is the better player, but Ameen’s off to an incredible start,” Mihalich said. “I mean, it’s crazy, it’s absolutely crazy how well he’s shooting the ball and how well he’s playing.”
Tanksley’s line in the Norfolk State game was Carmelo Anthony-like. He scored 30 points but didn’t register a single assist.
“My uncle Tweeted at me, ‘Zero assists, I taught you well,'” Tanksley, whose Twitter handle is Ameen_Business, said by phone.
“We’ve known each other since the seventh grade,” Tanksley said. “We’ve been playing on the same team since high school. We didn’t go to the same high school, but we played on the same traveling team. And we wanted to go to college together.”
The duo initially committed to Niagara and played two seasons there ending in 2012-13, but ended up following Mihalich to Hofstra after he took the job in 2013.
“Right when he said he was going to take the job, right when he told us there was no doubt,” Tanksley said. “The reason we stayed at Niagara was because of Mihalich, so when he decided to leave, we had our options but we knew Mihalich too well. We already built that connection with him in the first two years at Niagara.”
Said Mihalich: “They weren’t going to stay there [at Niagara]. They made that clear from the very minute, even when the emotion died down. They didn’t want to stay there. They just didn’t want to be there anymore. And so once they decided to leave, then they contacted us and said they were interested. I mean, I’m not the smartest guy in the world, but I’m not the dumbest guy in the world either, either. Why would you not want two really good players who you love like sons?
“We got reunited and I’m a lucky guy to be their coach.”
Both players sat out last season per NCAA transfer rules — as did SMU transfer Brian Bernardi and Florida Air transfer Eliel Gonzalez – which Tanksley believes helped build groundwork for this season.
“It was real tough but I think it helped us,” he said. “Doing the things that I’m doing today, I was able to work on my game and get stronger and really understanding college basketball.”
Going forward, Tanksley said of the Pride, “We can be real good. We can compete with anybody.”
Just as long as the twin talk continues.