Former Rivals Now Share Court As Teammates - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News


Former Rivals Now Share Court As Teammates

They graduated high school two years ago, but their hearts remain true to their Tyler alma maters.

John Tyler graduate Delbert Simpson and Robert E. Lee graduate Ifeanyi Koggu are now teammates on the TJC men's basketball team. These old rivals have not let go of the past.  

"He roots for his team, I root for mine," Delbert said. "I'm a die hard John Tyler fan."

"After every TJC basketball game, he's talking about Cujo this and Cujo that," Ifeanyi said.

Delbert and Ifeanyi shared the court throughout their high school careers as rivals.

"When we talk about basketball that's when I get heated," Ifeanyi said.

"I give him a hard time about me never losing to Lee throughout my four year career at John Tyler," Delbert said.

"He's got the upper hand for sure," Ifeanyi admitted.

"Everyday we talk about John Tyler, Robert E. Lee I always say I'm 25-0, or 30-0. I just make up a number," Delbert said.

But the trash talk and the memories direct not just to who won, but how each other looked out on the court. Some parts a little embarrassing to think of these years later.

"(Ifeanyi) wearing those long, red and white socks like he was a player from the 70's or something," Delbert said.

"I'd have to say when they came out with their little south side haircuts," Ifeanyi said of Delbert. "That was parted all the way to (the back) and they had that little patch of hair in the front."

These two pick on each other like brothers, and it seems only fitting.

"All love, all love," Delbert said. "He's just like a brother to me. "

"Actually, when I got here he was kind of the one that took me in his hands," Ifeanyi said.

After two years of playing together, these Apaches have each others backs.

"I feel like we could go to the national tournament," Ifeanyi said.

Delbert, Ifeanyi and the TJC Apaches will honor veterans this weekend at the TJC Men's Basketball Tournament. It is military appreciation weekend.

The tournament starts Friday, November 10, and runs through Saturday, November 11. Games begin Friday at 5:30 p.m. at TJC's Wagstaff Gym.
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