NANAIMO — The sports spotlight at Vancouver Island University has been on the CCAA Men's Soccer Nationals this week, but Thursday is a special day for basketball fans with the beginning of the PACWEST season.
The Mariners take on the their island rivals from Camosun with matches at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m.
When the men take the court it will begin a special season for brothers Jordy and Bryson Cox.
They'll be playing together during Bryson's fifth and final season, and Jordy's first official season.
19-year-old Jordy did red shirt with the Mariners last year but Bryson says this is the only time the brothers have had the chance to play on the same team.
"I did coach him in high school in his Grade 9 year," said the older Cox. "That would be the only other team that I'd been a part of in his basketball career. It's fun to be a part of this now, and exciting."
Bryson says the experience is one that his whole family is sharing.
That includes coming to the home games in Nanaimo and following the team out of town as well.
"On the weekends when we're away they have as many family members over as possible and they stream it on the TV," said Bryson.
The pair have come along way since their games in the back yard at home.
Bryson, who's now 22, contends he had the upper hand in many of those matchups.
"There was a lot of games where I'd beat him and he'd always want to play one more, one more, one more, until the lights went on and we'd have to get told by dad to come in at the end of the night," Cox said.
Jordy says the two brothers each bring different strengths to the table and his older brother has been a mentor in his career.
"He's been really important to my development, always helping me after practice and telling me important things I should work on. He always helps boost my confidence on and off the court," said the younger Cox.
To make 2017-18 truly a special year the Cox brothers and the Mariners will have to perform on the court.
Expectations are high again after three straight first place PACWEST finishes and three straight provincial gold medals.
VIU's Director of High Performance Sport Stephanie White has a lot of faith in the program coach Matt Kuzminski has put together.
"He's brought in some great recruits and he's got some strong returning players. I expect them to carry on from where they've been in previous years and hopefully challenge for a PACWEST title," said White.
The men's and women's Mariners teams will be busy out of the gate.
After Thursday's home opening games against Camosun, VIU will visit Columbia Bible College on Friday night.
On twitter: @danmarshall77
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