2 of kind, Turners co-lead J. Carroll


These siblings are a study in similarities, not contrasts.

They have the same physical gifts; cast the same commanding presence on both the basketball and volleyball court; and there's that smile that each will release in a moment's notice.

There is one thing that separates John Carroll two-sport standouts Corey and Kayani Turner: 13 months of age. That explains a lot.

"Corey has been very influential on Kayani," said their father, Michael Turner. "When she first started basketball, it was because Corey was playing. She saw him and said, 'Daddy and Mommy, why can't I play?' It seems like one has always followed the other."

Corey, 17, has been a four-year varsity basketball player and a three-year standout on the Patriots' volleyball team.

The 6-foot-4 senior is averaging nine points and five rebounds for the Patriots, a solid culmination to a high school career that started with promise -- he was only the second John Carroll freshman ever to make varsity, said Patriots coach Larry Burton -- but was rudely interrupted by torn cartilage in his right knee. The injury cost Corey almost his entire junior basketball season.

Kayani, 6-2, has put in three years on the girls volleyball and basketball teams at John Carroll and has come into her own in this, her junior, season, averaging 16.2 points and 13.3 rebounds. Patriots coach Kathleen Shannon called her a terrific role model on and off the court.

"I've kind of always wanted to be like Corey and never really felt I wanted to go in a different direction," said Kayani, 16, who also attended Harford Day School with her older brother for 10 years.

Corey recalled all the times years ago when he would head into the back yard to shoot some baskets, only to be joined by Kayani at the first sound of a bouncing ball.

The two would play against their father, who they can thank for his basketball-friendly genes. Michael is 6-5 and his wife, Beverly, is in the position of looking up to the rest of the Turner family at 6 feet even.

"The whole objective for them was: 'I have to beat Daddy,' and they started beating Daddy so I suggested they play each other and I'd ref," Michael said.

That was the beginning of a sibling rivalry that was highlighted for Kayani when, after hundreds of tries, she finally beat Corey in a game of one-on-one.

Corey said they are both too busy now to renew the rivalry.

Corey is a member of the Junior Olympic Maryland Volleyball program, while Kayani plays for the Baltimore Cougars' Amateur Athletic Union basketball team and the Time Out Orange Crush (18's) club volleyball team. All three club teams boast some of the top talent in the state.

Beverly joked that the kids keep her and her husband on the road for 48 weekends a year. The two siblings are a fixture at each other's games and are known to provide a few pointers afterward.

Said Beverly: "They might not always like what the other has to say, but they pay a lot more attention to it than they would if one of us would say the same thing."

"She doesn't listen to me sometimes anyway, but I try to point out some things that may help her," said Corey, who is normally the much quieter of the two siblings. "I guess it's because I'm the older brother."

Both Corey and Kayani started playing volleyball -- Corey as a sophomore; Kayani as a freshman -- mostly to stay active in the fall and improve skills they would need for basketball.

However, volleyball has become something much more.

Corey, a powerful middle hitter, has attracted some attention from West Coast volleyball schools even though he missed most of the fall high school season after re-tearing the meniscus in his right knee.

Kayani, an All-Metro second-team outside hitter, propelled the Patriots to a 19-0 season and an Interscholastic Athletic Association of Maryland B Conference crown.

Neither Corey nor Kayani has decided if either will focus on one sport or both in college, but they are considered bigger prospects in volleyball. Either way, when Corey, who is still unsure about his destination, leaves for college this fall, it will be a new experience for both. They will likely attend separate colleges.

Said Kayani: "He probably doesn't know it, but I look up to him a lot. It's going to be lonely without him."

"Right now, I feel we have a special bond together," Corey said. "I just try to set the right example. I try my best to do the same things that I would want her to do as my sister."

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