Playing basketball with your brother at the same college has become quite common in recent years around the NCAA. From 2006-2008, twin brothers Brook and Robin Lopez starred at Stanford University together. The Plumlee Brothers, Miles and Mason, formed a strong front line at Duke University during their title run in 2010. And since 2012, the College of Charleston has had their own brotherly duo: senior forwards Willis and Judson Hall.
Most of the Charleston campus community recognizes Willis as the Cougars’ leading scorer and rebounder this season. He stands at 6’6”, so it is hard to miss him when he walks into his favorite breakfast spot, Jack’s Cafe, which was the site of Willis’ photo shoot for February’s The Yard.
But frequently joining Willis at Jack’s is his younger brother, Judson, who walked-on to the basketball team in 2012. At first look, one might assume they are twins, as they share the same look and stand at the same height, but Willis is one year Judson’s senior.
Both Hall brothers played their high school basketball at Charlotte Christian High School in Charlotte, N.C. But while Willis was starring on the basketball team, Judson was also busy playing both offensive and defensive line for the varsity football team. He was a standout player on the field, as he was named to the all-conference football team as a defensive lineman in his junior season.
Their close bond, however, was formed on the basketball court from a young age.
“I don’t necessarily remember our first time playing basketball together, but ever since we were little kids we had a hoop in the driveway and our dad was out there always playing with us,” Judson said. “When we got older, we had a bunch of kids in the neighborhood and the games always [happened] at our place and it was usually Willis and I on the same team. There was a pair of older brothers that Willis and I would always play against and it was always highly competitive.”
In his redshirt senior season at the College, Willis has become a clutch player for the Cougars, connecting on two game winning shots in the final seconds against Charlotte and Drexel. His ability to take and make shots when the pressure is the highest seemingly comes from the Hall brothers’ days in their Charlotte driveway.
“I remember, even in the rain, practicing end of the game buzzer beating shots, we were always practicing together in that driveway,” Judson said.
Although Willis gets the attention for being the College’s star player, he credits Judson for working hard to get him ready for big games during team practices.
“Judson does a real good job of challenging the starters. What our scout team does for us in practice, you can’t put a price on it,” Willis said. “Judson does a real good job playing a role in practice to make it realistic for our first team, so once we get out their for the game, we have a feel for what is going to happen and Judson does it at a very high and competitive level.”
“To me, you’re on the team. There’s no such thing as a practice player,” Head Coach Doug Wojcik said. “Judson brings a lot to the table. He is a terrific shooter and a tough kid.”
Judson, however, made it known that his older brother has a weakness or two on the court.
“In the game of basketball, I am always his kryptonite,” Judson joked. “His pull-up jumper off the dribble is a weakness of his as well.”
Like any sibling, Willis did not waste anytime firing back at Judson.
“His weakness, you just take him right to the post. He’s too small in the post,” Willis commented, provoking a laugh from his brother.
The Hall brothers, along with Coach Wojcik and his wife, took a service trip to Haiti in the summer of 2013 to aid in community building efforts. The Hall brothers approached Seacoast Church about the mission trip, and the idea was completely their own. Willis and Judson’s good work was recently highlighted by the Colonial Athletic Association in a video produced for the conference’s website.
“That experience was kind of life changing because once you get down there, you see how they live, but also see how they care about their community and their neighbors,” Willis said in his interview with CAASports.com.
“Judson and I became very close after we went to Haiti. He is a very deep kid,” Wojcik said. “He is very intelligent and thoughtful. He can lighten the mood at practice. I always say you can be a leader in your own way and Judson really fills that role for us.”
With both Willis and Judson playing out their final stretch with the Cougars, they reflected a bit on their college careers.
“I’ve got no complaints, I’ve had a great five years here. There’s a lot I have experienced and I have nothing but gratitude,” Willis said. “I would do it all over again.”
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Judson said. “Going against [Willis] in practice, making him guard me.”
With senior day on Saturday, the Hall brothers will get to take the TD Arena court together with their parents as the College honors the achievements of the graduating players. It will certainly be a special day for Willis and Judson to share, and they would not have it any other way.
“The fact that these brothers got to play together, that’s pretty cool,” Wojcik commented. “You don’t see that too often.”
“There’s not many players in the country that have their best friend sitting on the bench with them,” Willis told CAASports.com.
While Willis and Judson won’t be heading to the NBA after graduation like the Lopez or Plumlee brothers, don’t think you’ve heard the last from these guys. Willis hopes to stay in the basketball world somehow, while Judson is a business administration major, who enjoys doing community outreach work.
Whatever they end up pursuing, you could only bet they will continue to challenge each other to be the best, just like those rainy days in their childhood driveway.