For the Grussendorf brothers, basketball is life, especially since they've spent the majority of their lives playing the game for which they both share a passion.
Born and raised in Juneau, Cody and Ty Grussendorf got their love of the sport from their father.
"My dad grew up playing basketball and he played city league here and I always went to his games as a kid, but I never really played until sixth grade," said senior Thunder Mountain guard Cody Grussendorf. "I started playing after watching him play in the Gold Medal tournament."
Ty Grussendorf, who said he always wanted to be as good as his brother, grew up watching Cody play. But in a game against Ketchikan earlier this year, the freshman Grussendorf actually outscored his older brother, the leading scorer on the Falcons.
"My first-ever varsity game I went in and shot the first shot that I had and it was a three," said Ty Grussendorf. "I found out later that night that (Cody) only had two, so I had to bug him about that for the rest of the night."
"That was horrible," said Cody Grussendorf. "I never thought in my life that I'd be on the same team as Ty, let alone him outscoring me in a game against K-town.
"We don't usually talk about that at the house."
The brothers said they feel the first year of the Thunder Mountain basketball program has been a good one.
"It's been really fun. Coming here was a great choice because I have a new coach in Blasco and really got to know him well and had a really good friendship with him.
"Having Ty on the team makes it so much more fun because during practice he'll be fouling me all the time because I'm his older brother, but I just get pissed off and score on him anyway."
Ty Grussendorf echoed the sentiment.
"It's cool because I've never played on the same team as him," he said. "It's a new experience having him yell at me all the time when I do something wrong, but it's a goodexperience."
Being brothers, thecompetition between one another has been going on for years now.
"We've always been competing against each other to see who's better," Ty Grussendorf said.
When asked if his younger brother has ever been, or ever will be, better than him, Cody Grussendorf responded with a smile on his face, "Never."
"We'll see," said Ty Grussendorf.
"We used to play in the front yard and we had the rim at eight feet. I've been 6-feet forever and Ty was always this little short kid," said Cody Grussendorf. "I was throwing windmills on him and dunking on him.
"I remember one time he slipped and cut his knee open and cried, the little baby," Cody Grussendorf said, taking a jab at his younger brother.
"I was only like 5-feet tall then so he had the advantage," said the younger Grussendorf.
When asked how many times he has posterized his little brother, Cody Grussendorf said simply, "Too many to count."
After his senior year, Cody Grussendorf said he plans to play basketball in college inCalifornia.
"I'm looking at a couple of schools in northern California," he said. "I have family around there so it would be pretty fun."
He also said he will study to become an athletic trainer in the future.
In the meantime, both brothers have interests off the court whether it's Ty Grussendorf who said he enjoys fishing with his father and hanging out with friends, or Cody Grussendorf who said he likes working out and watching movies with friends.
Ty Grussendorf's favorite basketball movie: "It's Coach Carter because he'sinspirational."
Favorite part about his freshman year at Thunder Mountain: "Watching the way the coach and the seniors bicker at each other and how they talk to each other."
"I guess we're a distracting group of seniors according to coach," said Cody Grussendorf.
Cody Grussendorf on his favorite moment at Thunder Mountain: "I finally got to play with my friends. Downtown, some of these kids might have not gotten a shot to play varsity basketball. Two of my best friends, Torey (Franzen) and Reese (Saviers) are on the team and it's been fun having them on all the trips and in all the games just right there by my side."
Cody Grussendorf on college basketball: "I like Duke and Syracuse because of Carlos (Boozer) - everyone likes him - and I like Syracuse because they play that zone that's really intense and they have a lot of good shooters. It's the style of basketball I like."
Ty Grussendorf on following in his brothers footsteps: "It's going to be tough to match him, but hopefully I can do it soon."
"He's gotta get quicker and learn how to dribble," Cody Grussendorf said in response to his brother's answer. "Basically, Ty is just a 3-point shooter right now so he's gotta get his drive and pull-up jumper going."
That's what big brothers are for - giving a little criticism, some trash-talking, and offering some good advice - at least most of the time.
Matthew Tynan can be reached at email@example.com.
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