PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: RTR’s Carter and Cooper Hansen sign letters of intent to play basketball at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato

Photo by Sam Thiel RTR’s Carter (left) and Cooper (right) Hansen pose for a photo after signing their letters of intent to play basketball at Bethany Lutheran College on Friday.

TYLER – Carter and Cooper Hansen have shared a lot of experiences together. Not just as teammates on the court/field, but as brothers off it as well.

They even shared the pen that helped sign the next chapter to their careers.

The two Russell-Tyler-Ruthton seniors inked their National Letters of Intent on Friday afternoon to play basketball at Bethany Lutheran College in Mankato surrounded by their family, teammates and coaches.

Carter said he was excited to finally have this day come and it was worth the wait.

“It’s really a dream come true. Not everyone gets a chance to go and play at the next level and it really all just comes together,” Carter said. “It was definitely worth the wait for us, signing kind of late and doing all of that, but I would say that we waited and made the right decision and we want to thank everyone who has helped us through the process.”

Cooper added that playing at the next level is something they’ve been wanting to do since they were little.

“It’s been something that we’ve both since a young age have always wanted to go on and play some more basketball after high school,” Cooper said. “Just to be able to take that extra step that not every kid gets to, it’s just an unbelievable experience for us.”

The past few years, both Carter and Cooper have helped lead the way for the Knights on the court, including guiding RTR to its first championship since 2005 two seasons ago. This year, Cooper was second in the area in scoring at 20.5 points per game and led the team in rebounding (8.6), assists (106 total), steals (88) and blocks (37) and was named the Independent boys basketball player of the year. Carter averaged 18.1 points per game and 6.9 rebounds while adding 105 total assists, 75 steals and 19 blocks.

Next fall, the Hansen brothers will be playing under the leadership of BLC coach Matt Fletcher. Fletcher played at SMSU from 2004-2008 as a member of the men’s basketball program and then moved on to coach at multiple schools before finding his way to the Vikings in 2016. Cooper said they’ve been able to build a solid relationship with their new coach already and that they have a similar approach to the game.

“It’ll be a cool relationship. Just having the previous knowledge of who he was and who he is will be a great thing to help motivate us to play for him even harder. Just knowing how hard he worked to get to play at SMSU shows us how hard we have to work just for him,” Cooper said. “We know what he’s all about and what his style is – he likes to go, go, go – and that’s kind of what we like to do too, so it’ll be fun.”

Both Cooper and Carter said their teammates and coaches at RTR have had a huge impact on them throughout their careers and that they made sure it felt like family.

“Coming in as freshmen with our basketball and football team, it always felt like family. No one was ever out of place, we were always blessed with the ability to play right away and it was always a home for me. I never felt out of place, the coaches did an amazing team and having that bonding relationship,” Carter said. “As players, last year we had that amazing run and it’ll always go down in the history books and we always had fun, but I can’t forget about the guys that led up to that and thank them and everyone that’s helped us through this.”

Carter added they’re going to miss not only their tight-knit grade but the fans as well.

“Our grade size isn’t that big – it’s about 33 or 34 kids – I’ve got to go with our grade. It’s a family on the court and off the court; everyone knows everyone and everyone knows when you’re having a good day or a bad day and they can help out,” Carter said. “The fans and the crowds that supported us throughout our football and basketball seasons or any sport, they’ve really been a huge part of our success, so just knowing that we have a great system behind us and they’re going to cheer day in and day out, it’s nothing you can repeat and it’s a once-in-a-lifetime shot and I’m very glad we got to experience it.”

It’s not too often that a pair of siblings commit to play the same sport, but as twins, it makes the feat even more rare. And as you may have guessed it, they will be roommates.

Carter said that part will be nothing new to them.

“It’s kind of funny; we shared a room ever since we were born, so we’re used to the dorm setting already,” Carter said. “We’ve got the twin-sized bed, we’ve shared a bedroom, so nothing’s going to be different that way, it’ll just be in a different location, I guess.”

Cooper said they’re just looking forward to meeting new people once they step foot onto campus next fall.

“Meeting new people. That’s something that we’ve always loved to do, and playing on a summer travel team we got to meet some guys from the Southwest Minnesota area and it’s something that’s just always interested us,” Cooper said. “Just going out and making new friends and just having a different place to call home for a little bit will be a cool experience.”