If not for Da’Jon Bellfield’s dreadlocks, it would be nearly impossible to tell him apart from his identical twin brother, Da’Juan. Even West PotomacCoach David Houston III confused the pair when they first entered the Wolverines’ basketball program.
It made writing down starting lineups hard, so in the huddle, he’d call them both “Twin,” a nickname adopted, the brothers said, after years of friends struggling to tell them apart.
“Twin!” Houston will bark as the Wolverines come down on offense, followed by a set play or a quick instruction. “Twin!” he shouts when one of the Bellfields gets in foul trouble and the other comes off the bench to replace him.
The Bellfields are West Potomac’s most versatile players, Houston said. They each stand 6-foot-4, with wide wingspans.
Houston will flex them out as ballhandlers to take pressure off point guard Khalil Williams-Diggins. He’ll throw them in the post to rebound alongside forward Idaresit Ekpuk. On any given night, they’ll guard the perimeter, lead the break, snag a few rebounds and maybe block a few shots, too.
“I can play them anywhere on the court because they can cover so much ground,” Houston said.
The twin connection helps.
“What we do will probably be harder to stop because we each know the other so well,” said Da’Jon, who is one minute younger than Da’Juan. “It’s just natural.”
“If we had to trade places, we could, and things would be similar,” Da’Juan said.
Playing basketball as a twin can be difficult. Take it from this reporter, the younger of twins by two minutes. Comparisons are rampant, as if winning Final Jeopardy rides on determining who is a better shooter or better defender.
There are dumb questions, such as “Who’s older?” followed immediately by “Who’s younger?”
“Do you have ESP?” No, we just grew up together. We know one another’s preferences.
For what it’s worth, Da’Jon is the better ballhandler and scorer. He moved up to varsity his sophomore year, and after Houston put him in the the starting lineup, the Wolverines ripped off 11 straight wins.
Da’Juan sat out that year with a knee injury. When he moved up to varsity the next season, Houston saw him as more of a grinder: a tough rebounder, pesky defender and fundamental passer.
If both brothers worked on their ballhandling — they grew up as the biggest kids in the neighborhood and always gravitated toward the post — they could play almost anywhere on the floor, Houston told them. It would help the team, but they’d also see a lot more playing time and make them more attractive to college scouts.
A slew of schools, from Division II to junior colleges eyeing to send them to major conference universities after two years, are interested in the brothers, both for football and basketball. Da’Jon was an all-conference linebacker for the Wolverines’ football team. Da’Jaun started at cornerback and had four touchdowns in specialty packages on offense.
They’re open to going to college together or to going to different schools. They’re likely to make a decision, they said, after basketball season.