Twin telepathy positively at work at Quaker Valley
Joe Peduto says only a few people can tell him and his identical twin, Sam, apart.
Fortunately for Quaker Valley basketball, none of those people guard either of the 6-foot-4 forwards this season.
"Sometimes on the court, people get us mixed up because we have close numbers -- 23 and 24," Sam said. "Usually, two guys go to guard Joe, and I get a wide open layup or something.
"So that's kind of funny."
It certainly has to have Quakers Coach Mike Mastroianni smiling. The Peduto twins have helped Quaker Valley (13-2, 5-2 Section 6) stay among the top teams in WPIAL Class AA, combining almost equally for nearly 24 points, 10 rebounds, and five assists per game, with Sam's 13 points per game leading the team.
While each of the seniors has his own style -- Joe is more of a slasher; Sam, an inside-outside shooter -- the two have an uncanny connection on the floor -- a "twin telepathy" of hoops.
"I think what makes them unique is really the communication level between them, that they really understand where they are on the court together, and they have a real good feel for each other," Mastroianni said. "And most of it is nonverbal. They sort of just know."
After Sam beat Joe into the world by about two minutes, the two developed both their basketball skills and personalities alongside one another.
Today, both have become capable post defenders, with guard-like ball-handling skills and a keen ability to get to and finish at the rim. Sam's game is a bit more multidimensional, enabling him to float from the perimeter to the paint, while Joe's strengths include open-floor defense -- he averages 2.2 steals -- and driving to the hoop.
When they're on the floor together, those skills converge sometimes with just a glance.
"I don't have to say anything. I just look at him and he basically knows what to do," Joe Peduto said. "And also, people usually say that we know where each other is on the court without looking. We have the same thought process. We know what each other is going to do, basically, because we've been playing together for years."
They complement one another off the floor, too, earning nicknames for their different personality traits.
"He's a funny guy, and people think he's 'Jolly Joe' and I'm like 'Serious Sam,' " said Sam. "He makes people laugh and everything, and I'm always there on the court with him. I'm always there to bring him up if he does something wrong."
It's a formula that works for Quaker Valley, and likely will carry on if the brothers play together in college. The twins are considering Slippery Rock, Seton Hill, St. Vincent and Wheeling Jesuit.
"It would be kind of weird to play without him. I don't think I could picture a team without Joe on it," Sam said. "I feel like a team with just me, we would be good, but we wouldn't be great. If you add that one piece that makes me a better player, we would end up being a great team."