All in the family

Published 8:27 am Friday, February 12, 2010

WAKEFIELD—For the Doyle brothers, basketball runs in the family, just not on the same team.

Will and Nick Doyle are notable local basketball players playing for different schools.

Two years ago, Will Doyle, 18, played at Southampton Academy. Last year he was a star for Southampton High School. He was an all-Bay Rivers District point guard for the Indians. This year Doyle has transferred to Tidewater Academy after playing with some of the Tidewater players in AAU ball.

“I liked playing at Southampton because it was big and had a lot of fans, but I felt like I had a better opportunity at Tidewater,” Will said.

When he moved to Tidewater Academy for this season, he was asked to play forward because Austin Westbrook was already at the position.

“He’s playing out of position here,” said Walter Westbrook, Tidewater Academy head coach. “His willingness to do that is why we are where we are. He has battled a 6-foot, 8-inch kid and a 6-foot, 9-inch kid. He’s been a blessing.”

“It helps the team because if you have a point guard playing the five and can pass like a point guard, it makes things easier,” Will said. “I didn’t have many problems with it, because I played one through five at Southampton Academy.”

At the beginning of the season, Westbrook made it clear to Doyle, who has a 30-minute drive to Tidewater, that he would have to play team ball with the Warriors. Tidewater Academy has several players who can score, and Doyle has had to give up some of that role with the Warriors.

“He’s been nothing but a team player,” Westbrook said. “Actually, I had a talk with him at halftime tonight (in last week’s game against Richmond Christian) and told him he needed to score more,. He’s been very self-conscious about not stepping on any toes here. He has fit in wonderfully here.”

“It hasn’t been too hard. I like to pass. I just let the game come to me,” Will said.

Will would like to play basketball beyond high school and has had interest from Virginia Wesleyan and Christopher Newport.

“I would like to play at Longwood, somewhere like that,” he said.

Will’s younger brother, Nick, is a sophomore at Southampton High School. He is the starting point guard this year after playing JV last year, taking over for his older brother.

Will Melbye, Southampton head coach, said Nick has a lot of talent for a young player.

“He has the ability to see the floor, and that’s a gift for a 15-year-old kid,” Melbye said. “We worked with him a lot about that this year.”

“I worked hard all summer, and I showed it in practice,” Nick said. “I just tell these guys if I drive, if you cut, I’m going to find you. I let the game come to me. If there’s a night when they are sagging off me and I need to shoot, I will shoot. If they are trying to get up on me, I will pass it.”

So with the brothers playing at different schools, their parents, Keith and Cheryl, have had to make choices about who to watch, traveling from Hunterdale as home base.

“It’s tough. Our parents go to every other game. Since my brother is a senior, my dad goes to his games to tape him for colleges,” Nick said.

Basketball is a point of discussion at the Doyle household.

“We kind of battle to see who had the better stats or who won by more points,” Nick said.