Canadian twins prepare for college basketball at IMG Academy in Florida
Monday, Mar 10, 2014 05:00 pm
BRADENTON, Fla. - Whether on the court, in the weight room or just messing around trying to work out who gets to be taller in a photo, the Caron-Goudreau twins are always competitive.
Audrey Ann and Khaleann are ready to become fixtures for the Vanderbilt University Commodores women's basketball team next season after spending so much time trying to outdo each other in the IMG Academy's weight-training facilities this year.
"We work out like the guys," said Audrey Ann. "We're getting big — really big."
Khaleann says they are getting "better and stronger" in the room.
"It will make a difference when we get to university because we already train like (they do)," she said.
The IMG Academy in Bradenton is a preparatory school that offers state-of-the-art training facilities for promising athletes in 10 different sports.
Boasting an international student body of more than 950 students from approximately 80 countries, the academy purports to give students an opportunity to succeed both academically and in their respective sports.
It seems to be working for the 18-year-old, six-foot-three forwards from Gatineau, Que.
The identical twins were moulded by IMG head coach Shell Dailey, a former WNBA and NCAA Division-I coach who has helped to develop more than 50 pro players.
"She knows the game and how to prepare us," said Khaleann.
Audrey Ann added: "She doesn't coach us like normal high school players. She coaches us like college players."
Colleges certainly took notice of the sisters — the tandem received hundreds of inquiries from American universities.
"We have three huge boxes full of them," said Khaleann. "Our dad is very organized and he keeps them in order alphabetically in the basement."
From a distance, the twins may seem like normal high school students, constantly smiling and giggling with one another. However, the sisters become intense and very competitive when they put their jerseys on.
"I don't just own the paint," said Khaleann. "I own the entire court."
Their numbers suggest that they might be co-proprietors of the floor.
Khaleann averaged 14.9 points and seven rebounds per game last season, while Audrey bested her sister by the slightest of margins, finishing with 15.4 points and eight rebounds per game.
Carly Clarke, head coach of the twins on Canada's 2012 cadette (under-17) women's team, is no stranger to their desire to win.
"Audrey Ann and Khaleann are two of the most competitive players I have coached," Clarke said via email.
Their former coach, whose club went 5-3 at the world championships, recalled having to ask the sisters to "scale back on how hard they were working" in the warm-ups before their tournament games.
Commodores' coach Tom Garrick recognizes the same intensity in the sisters.
"The twins are a very rare breed of athlete," said Garrick. "They play with an edge, a combination of perimeter and low block skills matched with a passionate aggression."
When the sisters used to play one-on-one, the games went on for hours, were always extremely close and often became quite physical.
"We would both finish on the floor, fighting for the ball," Audrey Ann said with a smile.
The Caron-Goudreaus now use this competitive edge on the court against their opponents. Not scared of physicality, the girls welcome the idea of taking contact during charges and while they are boxing out their opponents.
"I won't allow someone to score on me down low," said Khaléann. "I would be so mad."
While basketball is pivotal to the Canadian sisters, they equally distribute their focus and energies towards their education as well.
Despite dreaming of playing in the WNBA and overseas in Europe, both say they are well prepared in the case that their professional basketball futures do not come to fruition.
They plan on studying medicine while at Vanderbilt. Audrey Ann will most likely go the pre-veterinarian route, while Khaleann thinks she may open her own pediatric clinic one day.
"If you try hard both academically and on the basketball court, then your results are going to be good," said Audrey Ann.
Added Khaleann: "You have to give 100 per cent and put your heart into everything you do."