CHENEY, Wash. — They say Philly is the city of brotherly love, but Cheney is working it’s way up the ranks with the Groves brothers on the court.
"Just whenever he does something good I get super amped about it which is pretty cool. I just love to see him do good," said Tanner Groves of his brother, Jacob.
Shadle Park alums and brothers Tanner and Jacob Groves have both seen their minutes rise significantly for the Eagles this season.
When they’re playing together, they’re a lot of fun to watch.
"It’s honestly really good for me on the court too just to have a big fan playing right beside me," said younger brother Jacob of Tanner. "Being like, 'Hey, I practiced that on the driveway against you last year.' That chemistry that we’ve been working with our whole lives is really helping us out at the next level."
That’s not hyperbole. It’s literal.
Against WSU a few weeks ago, Tanner had three assists. They were all to Jacob.
It's paying off in a way that isn’t as quantifiable to most fans either, and Eastern’s staff noticed it last year.
"When Tanner and I were in the game together our plus minus was just a lot better. We play really well together, and we have a lot of assists to each other. I’m always looking to get it inside to Tanner because I know he’s really hard to stop when he gets the ball inside and then I know he’s always looking for me to kick back out for shots. We work really well together which always helps us and our team," said Jacob.
The WSU game was the first time the brothers started any game—high school or collegiate—together. Jacob started in that game due to depleted roster numbers due to COVID.
There could be more starting lineups featuring the Groves brothers in the future, especially since Tanner redshirted his freshman year, not knowing at the time that the extra year would pave the way to playing an extra season with his brother.
"Next year there’s a good chance Jake could possibly be starting. Obviously playing big minutes this year and next year too. I think the redshirt year was kind of cool now that I know that I’ll get to play an extra year with Jake. It’ll be awesome," said Tanner.
The brothers sure are enjoying this season together, as they are both averaging around 11 points through three games.
However for a few people, it’s been understandably brutal.
"My mom texted me last night and asked if UNLV was allowing fans or not just to make sure because she was going to hop on a flight just to come to a game," said Tanner.
As you could imagine with that sort of commitment, the Groves clan will be ready to go the next time they can see the pair play together in person.
"They are going to be going nuts. They’re probably looking more forward to it than we are," said Tanner.