December 17, 2013

Nighthawk Spotlight Vol. 5

Photo Gallery

Fans don’t have to look far to see identical twins thriving in today’s sports world. Markieff and Marcus Morris are still playing together today in the NBA for the Phoenix Suns. Robin and Brooke Lopez are both playing in the NBA, despite playing for different teams. The Bryan brothers have dominated the doubles tennis circuit together for nearly a decade.

The University of North Georgia enters the 2013-2014 season with their own pair of twins – Karlee and Kaylee Akin.

The spitting images are products of Model High School in Rome where Kaylee was named Rome News-Tribune Honorable Mention for basketball her final three years, in addition to being selected All-Region in volleyball in 2011 and 2012. Meanwhile, Karlee was named a three-time member of the All-Area team and a two-time selection of the All-Region team, both for basketball.

Through the recruiting process, UNG head coach Buffie Burson quickly indentified the girls as players any coach would want in a basketball program for their presence off the court to their talents on it.

“Number one is just their skill level and energy, passion for the game. They’re the types of players you want to be in your program that can leave their mark, as far as knowing how to play and knowing how to win,” said Burson. “They played for one of my former players, their dad is a coach, and everything was just pointing towards getting these girls on campus.”

The twins started playing basketball together virtually as soon as they could walk, and given the fact that their dad is also a basketball coach, it was no surprise that the girls decided it was in their best interest to continue playing with each other at the college level.

It would have been inconceivable to see the two go anywhere without the other.

“Of course we’re really close, like really close. It would have been really hard going apart from each other but that was never the case like we had to go together (for college),” said Karlee. “If she wanted to go somewhere else and I wanted to go somewhere else we would have, but we wanted to stay together.”

In addition to basketball, both were members of the volleyball team, while Karlee also played soccer. Aside from that lone difference, the similarities between the two carried over into school, on the basketball court, and even in their social life.

“Kaylee had a boyfriend our freshman and sophomore year. He came up to me and put his arm around me, I was like ‘Uh, not Kaylee’. My back was turned so I’ll give him that but I was still like ‘what are you doing,” recalled Karlee.

It wasn’t only boyfriend’s that couldn’t tell the difference but also basketball referees; despite the fact the girls wore numbers to separate them.

“I’m not sure what year it was in high school but Karlee fouled out of a game because of me,” said Kaylee. “They gave two fouls of mine to Karlee but it was just that one game where the referee couldn’t tell the difference us.”

The girls are still under the same roof to this day despite making the transition to college, but it’s safe to say that even when they argue with each other they still stand by each other’s side.

“We get in our spells where we just bicker at each other all day. If we get into a fight, five minutes later we’re laughing. If we get into an argument we still won’t leave each other’s sides,” said Kaylee. “We’ll still argue with each other but we won’t separate, we’ll just stay next to each other.”

The lack of separation explains quite a bit – they like the same type of music and they eat the same types of food, it all makes sense. However, their relationship is deeper than most; to the point where they can even finish each other’s sentences.

“We’re the same person. We weigh the exact same, like to the decimal point. We got weighed the other day and we both got 137.5,” said Karlee. “Then sometimes Kaylee will say something, and I’ll be thinking I was about to say the same thing. If she says something and we’re talking to somebody, and they don’t understand what she said, she’ll look at me and I can tell you exactly what she said.”

Karlee and Kaylee have redefined the word “twin” to the point where similarities don’t even begin to describe the bond they have – these two have a connection that even a scale can’t tell them apart.

Fans are encouraged to interact on Twitter with Kaylee (@AkinKaylee) and Karlee (@KarleeAkin).

Spotlight Story By: Chris Natsch, UNG Athletic Communications Student Assistant

Nighthawk Spotlight Archives:
Volume 4 - October 24, 2013 - UNG Women's Golfers Featured On Cover Of NCAA Champion Magazine
Volume 3 - September 23, 2013 - A to Z with Emily Beusse, Women's Cross Country

Volume 2 - August 26, 2013 - Interview with Head Athletic Trainer Matt Daniel
Volume 1 - July 31, 2013 - Question & Answer With Athletic Director Lindsay Reeves About Community Engagement