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ERIC SONDHEIMER

Mater Dei's Wear twins prepare to fill tall order

March 15, 2007|ERIC SONDHEIMER | Eric Sondheimer can be reached at eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

AT the Wear house in Huntington Beach, a gallon of milk disappears in half a day. A loaf of bread vanishes in hours. A case of Gatorade lasts, perhaps, a week.

That's what it's like trying to feed 6-foot-10 identical twins David and Travis Wear, sophomore basketball players at Santa Ana Mater Dei.

By this time next season, the Wears figure to be basketball royalty, like the NBA's Collins twins and Stanford's Lopez twins, because it's only a matter of time before they start asserting themselves all over the court.

David is averaging 9.1 points and 5.2 rebounds and Travis is averaging 8.6 points and 4.1 rebounds this season. They are in the Monarchs' starting lineup, but filling their roles in support of Duke-bound Taylor King.

As Mater Dei (31-4) prepares to face Redondo (28-5) at 4 p.m. Saturday at Pauley Pavilion in the Southern California Regional Division II championship game, it's clear the Wear twins represent the team's future.

They might have been the world's tallest roller hockey players if they hadn't given up the sport when they turned 11. They played on a 10-and-under North American youth championship team.

"I don't think they make skates big enough for us anymore," David said.

Both credit their early roller hockey days for helping to provide unusual coordination for two giants who are as comfortable shooting three-point shots from the top of the key as they are dunking.

"It really helped," David said. "You're on skates. It's a team game and fast paced, like basketball, and always moving."

Added Travis: "It takes a lot of coordination to get on skates."

They are close to A students, have a strong work ethic, listen to their coaches and are polite to everyone. Their father, David Sr., a Mater Dei assistant, played basketball at Cal State Fullerton and tutored them on outside shooting during their early days.

Starting this summer, as they lift weights and build muscle, they're hoping to add a more powerful inside game to their repertoire.

"It's definitely a priority to get a better post game," David said.

They used to share bunk beds at home. Now they each have a queen-size bed, but their feet hang over the edge.

They're best friends who fight over silly things, such as who gets to sit in the front seat of the family car and who controls the TV remote. When they used to wrestle to settle disputes, nothing was safe from shattering.

"There's a few holes in my brother's room," David said. "The couch is a little broken. We try not to be so physical now because we're so big."

When they go to a restaurant, they usually order identical meals. Walking together at the mall produces the inevitable stares and also such questions as, "Are you twins? Are you brothers? How tall are you? Do you play basketball?"

"I don't dislike anything about being a twin," David said.

Each pushes the other and is always there when one needs a lift.

"Whenever one of us is practicing, the other feels the need to practice," David said.

Added Travis: "If one is down, the other is picking him up."

Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight said the twins understand the expectations are about to change.

"The following two years, they're going to have to make huge strides because King,

Kamyron Brown and Alex Jacobson are leaving, and it's going to be their turn to step forward," he said.

While the changing of the guard is near, the twins know that finishing their sophomore seasons on a positive note can set the stage for an influential junior year.

"I'm not focused on trying to improve my game," David said. "I just want to win the state championship, and I'm going to do whatever it takes."

College recruiters already have the Wear twins in their sights.

Whatever happens, the twins admire how their much-publicized teammate, King, has handled the attention, both good and bad, during his four-year prep career.

"He's been a good role model," Travis said.

A warning for future opponents: It's during the off-season when the twins sometimes have to change their pant sizes.

"I always end up growing a few inches in the summer," David said.

And what one twin does, the other is sure to follow.

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(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX)

Southern California Regional Basketball Championships

BOYS

DIVISION I

No. 1 Los Angeles Fairfax (26-5) vs. No. 2 Westchester (26-6) at Pauley Pavilion, Saturday, 8 p.m.

DIVISION II

No. 1 Santa Ana Mater Dei (31-4) vs. No. 6 Redondo (28-5) at Pauley Pavilion, Saturday, 4 p.m.

DIVISION III

No. 1 Lakewood Artesia (31-2) vs. No. 2 La Canada (30-3) at Pauley Pavilion, Saturday, noon.

DIVISION IV

No. 1 North Hollywood Campbell Hall (31-1) vs. No. 2 San Diego Horizon (24-6) at Cal State Fullerton, Saturday, 7 p.m.

DIVISION V

No. 1 Los Angeles Price (28-5) vs. No. 2 Los Angeles View Park (22-11) at Cal State Fullerton, Saturday, 3 p.m.

GIRLS

DIVISION I

No. 1 Long Beach Poly (34-1) vs. No. 2 Fontana Miller (33-2) at Pauley Pavilion, Saturday, 6 p.m.

DIVISION II

No. 1 Brea Olinda (32-1) vs. No. 3 Norco (29-3) at Pauley Pavilion, Saturday, 2 p.m.

DIVISION III

No. 2 La Puente Bishop Amat (26-5) vs. No. 4 Santa Margarita (27-5) at Pauley Pavilion, Saturday, 10 a.m.

DIVISION IV

No. 1 Los Angeles Marlborough (25-6) vs. No. 2 La Jolla Country Day (24-7) at Cal State Fullerton, Saturday, 5 p.m.

DIVISION V

No. 1 Los Angeles Pacific Hills (29-5) vs. No. 2 San Luis Obispo Mission Prep (22-9) at Cal State Fullerton, Saturday, 1 p.m.

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