Varsity basketball players Kieran, Ryan, and Logan Cecil are exceptional athletes, students, and individuals, on and off the basketball court.
Basketball coach Don Meyer once said, “To be a team, you must be a family.” While the bond between teammates is invaluable, and the brotherhood shown amongst players is without compare, the bond is even more special when the players are brothers. Senior Kieran Cecil and sophomore twins Ryan and Logan Cecil are three of the players on TJ’s Varsity boys basketball team this year, and their brotherhood is shown by their hard work, dedication, and support for one another both on and off the court.
The Cecil brothers have been playing basketball for many years, developing a love for the sport as children. Prior to TJ, the trio attended Christ the King Catholic School from Kindergarten through 8th grade, where their love of basketball began; their father coached the school’s team. Ryan and Logan began playing for the school in 3rd grade, but didn’t begin playing competitively until 8th grade. “At first, it was for an organization called the Denver Red Shield Corps, but our team broke off and continued on playing together for multiple organizations or sometimes none,” explained Ryan. The Denver Red Shield Corps is an offset of the Denver Salvation Army, which seeks to focus on allowing children to participate in sports along with their other charitable and outreach programs. Since the end of 8th grade, the twins have played with the Elevation Flyers organization club basketball team, competing against some of the best local and national teams. Kieran began his basketball career at Christ the King early on as well, explaining, “I started playing basketball for my school in 3rd grade, and more seriously in 5th grade. I’ve played for Chauncey Billups’ Elite Basketball Academy and Elevation Basketball, besides, of course, for TJ.”
This season, the Cecils had the opportunity to play on TJ’s varsity basketball team, where Kieran was a starter for the majority of the games. Ryan and Logan made the transition from junior varsity to varsity while Kieran played his third season on the team; all three of the brothers played for TJ’s JV team during their freshman years, and Ryan and Logan continue to play in games for both teams this year. “I liked playing with the varsity team because of how intense some of the games were,” explained Ryan. “JV was just fun because I got to go out and play for most of the games and have fun while doing it.” Logan holds the value of playing for the varsity team in high esteem as well, remarking that the experience has shaped him as a player and person. “My favourite team that I’ve ever played with has definitely been playing varsity this year with TJ,” said Logan. “It’s allowed me to play with teammates who understand the game better than younger players and who know how to take advantage of having a 6’8″ player with the same jersey on as them.”
In practices and on the court, the Cecils have proved themselves to be forces to be reckoned with. Along with their focus and apparent dedication to the sport, shown through their hustle at practice and games, the boys (literally) dominate the court due to their heights (Kieran and Ryan are 6’7 while Logan is 6’8). “It’s pretty hard for a team to score on three kids over 6 feet tall,” joked head coach Grant Laman. In addition to their on-court skills, the Cecils are valuable assets to the team because of their characters and morals. “The thing that’s pretty obvious is that all three of them are such great students. The student athlete part of being on a team is so covered; I never have to worry about them being ineligible or how they’re doing in their classes. They’re just stand up guys that always have great grades and are always accountable and respectful,” added Laman.
While the trio is rarely on the court at the same time (usually one or two are playing together for most of the game), there have been rare and exciting instances when all three boys are seen defending together. “I definitely remember that the first time that we did it, I was very aware that we were going to have all three Cecils in at once. That can be a really big back line defense, and we were happy to do that,” explained Laman. “ Normally they play some of the same positions, so they weren’t always in there together, but it’s pretty unique and fun when we were able to put all three of them out there at the same time.”
This year, the team made it to the Colorado High School Activities Association (CHSAA) Boys State Basketball Tournament for the fourth year in a row, ultimately falling to Valor in the second round of the playoffs. While a loss can spell disappointment for graduating seniors, Kieran feels as though this season ended on a high note. “Even if it wasn’t the result I wanted, it was fitting that I ended my basketball career playing Valor, going up against a lot of players that I had played with in the past,” said Kieran. “Regardless of the outcome, it was a good battle,” and a good way to end the year. Though he does not plan on continuing basketball throughout his postsecondary education, he is thankful for his time, lessons learned, and participation in the various programs. “Playing with Kieran since freshmen year has been very interesting. He has always been like an older/little brother to me,” said senior Ahamed Mohammed. “Regardless of what happened, he’d never get angry and kept the team at peace. He has always had my back regardless of if I was in the wrong or not, and he is someone I know I’ll keep in touch with after high school.”
Outside of school and basketball, the Cecil boys have their own interests and after-school activities. Logan and Ryan both ran cross country the past two years and participated in track and field; Logan took part in the long jump events, while Ryan competed in the high jump and long jump events as well. Both boys are also members of Challenge 5280, a student leadership competition where participants focus on some sort of injustice in schools. TJ’s chapter focuses on student stress, seeking to improve students’ mindsets around tests and other challenging aspects of high school life. “Being in 5280 has given me so many opportunities to lead and be outspoken, and in a way it’s just like a game of basketball: my peers are my teammates, and as we come up with ideas for our project, we have to be loud and open with our opinions and stances,” explained Logan. “It’s definitely developed me as a leader and as a person in general.” Logan is also involved in Advanced Robotics, where he participated in the SeaPerch competition in March. When not taking part in school activities, the twins enjoy a variety of interests; Ryan is passionate about photography, spending time with friends, running, and being around his dog Gwen, and Logan enjoys playing video games, exercising, and playing basketball or being around his friends. Though the twins do not graduate until 2019, they have already begun to envision their future plans and desire for post-secondary educations. “I hope to continue into college, whether I play basketball or not, and to find what I want to do with my life,” explained Ryan. Logan wants to study political science and engineering after graduation, and seeks to further his athletic career. “After high school I want to play basketball in college, regardless of division,” he explained. “If I’m offered a shot at playing at the next level, I’m going for it.”
Kieran is involved in Monticello choir and theatre, and he looks forward to playing Mr. Green in the spring production of Clue The Musical at the end of May. “Bring in Clue, and theatre in general over the past four years, has been a ton of fun,” said Kieran. “The show is really unique and has something in it for everyone, and I’m excited for TJ to experience it!” Additionally, he is involved in Pathways Robotics, having taken part in the Denver regional and world competition of FIRST Robotics Challenge this spring. After graduation, he plans on studying Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology at the University of Colorado Boulder. Outside of school, Kieran enjoys playing video games, reading, and delving into comics.
While spending an abundance of time around siblings can be tiresome, the Cecils find value and enjoyment in their moments together. “As hard as it is to admit, some of my favorite moments from this season were spent with my brothers,” said Logan. He described enjoying times where he and his brothers could joke around with the team, even if it was at the detriment of one of the siblings. “Moments like those make everything worth it,” Logan added. The Cecil brothers are a class act, from participating in a variety of activities to showing camaraderie and support for one another both on and off the court. While Kieran is graduating, continuing to college and beyond, Ryan and Logan will certainly continue to grace TJ with their hard work and passion for both academics and athletics.