Before taking the court, sophomore Kay-Kay Allums and freshman Megan Nipe each eat the same pre-game snack: a turkey, bacon and avocado sandwich. But before they shared this tradition, they had to share the shooting guard position at Centennial High School in Minnesota, where their relationship did not start out smoothly.
"At first, I thought she was mean," Allums said with a laugh about her rough start with Nipe. "But then we became teammates and, more than that, friends."
Now the two are one of three pairs of former high school teammates working together on GW's men's and women's basketball teams. Redshirt junior Travis King and senior Hermann Opoku of the men's team played together at Connecticut's South Kent Prep, while women's sophomores Tara Booker and Sara Mostafa not only played together at Absegami High School in New Jersey, but also before that in middle school and junior leagues.
"We have always been there for each other, since we were 10 years old," Booker said.
"We didn't plan on both coming here," Mostafa explained. "GW was in the middle of our lists and matched both our expectations, academically and in relation to basketball."
For Opoku and King, their commitments to GW were also made separately, with Opoku signing on right away and King not committing until the spring of his senior year. Opoku said the news that his high school teammate might be joining him in college made him even more eager to be a Colonial.
"When I heard that GW was also recruiting Travis, I got excited, and I had a vision of us playing together," Opoku said.
King didn't commit to GW until the spring, at which point the Colonials had climbed high enough to offer a second benefit.
"When I heard Hermann might be going too, I knew it would be a win-win situation because either way, the team was number six in the country," King said, referring to the team's peak poll position in 2006.
The pairs' familiarity with one another made it easier for the former teammates to adjust to college both on and off the court.
"Having Tara around really made the transition to GW easier," Mostafa said. "She helped me adjust academically as well. She's also one of my best friends. We lift each other up."
Nipe said Allums's outgoing nature was helpful when she arrived in Foggy Bottom this year.
"It was nice to know someone since I'm a shy person," she said.
King, a point guard, said his familiarity with Opoku helps him know what to look for when playing together and helps their performance a great deal.
"I'm used to Hermann's game," King said. "I know what to expect from him and it makes it easier to play because that's one less guy I have to learn to adjust to."