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Weishar and Boykin became friends playing basketball as kids

Long before tight end Nic Weishar and wide receiver Miles Boykin became play makers for the Irish offense, they were just a couple of kids growing up in the Chicago suburbs.

"Me and Miles, we grew up, he was in Tinley Park, I was in Midlothian, just a town over," Weishar said.

"We just grew up together, We're really similar, we lived really close to each other, we knew a lot of the same people, so we've always just sort of been great friends," Boykin said.

It wasn't football that brought these two Irish stars together, it was basketball.

Weishar and Boykin played on the JJC Jayhawks AAU basketball team for 5 years.

"I was always the bigger kid, so I was like the center and that was my role. To be the little bit nastier player, getting rebounds and easy put backs. He was more of a slasher, he was so quick and so kind of lanky, he was able to open and things like that, but we actually had just a great kind of way to play off each other. That's what made us so great," Weishar said.

While they were teammates, it did not dampen their competitive nature.

"We played against each other actually in middle school, we always beat them, you can ask him about it how we always beat them and I was younger, too. We're really competitive. We played against each other in football, too. I was 7th grade he was in 8th grade. We played for a while and of course my team won again, in fact come to think about it, I don't think I've lost to Nic at anything. Yeah, I've definitely never lost to Nic in anything. I'm better than him at Call of Duty, I'm better than him at any XBOX game," Boykin said.

They've put that competitive spirit aside when it comes to being teammates.

Something instilled in them by the head coach of their AAU team- Eileen Copenhaver.

While a woman coaching boys may not have been the norm, it was just right for Boykin and Weishar.

"She was one of the best basketball coaches I've ever had. She was the head coach at Providence Catholic and she knows what she's doing so she wasn't afraid to give us an earful. That was probably respected the most coming from Coach Eileen was that when she started yelling you had to listen. And she was just a tremendous, tremendous person," Weishar said.

"She was a great coach and I never thought anything about it. A lot of people might think women can't be coaches, but she was a fantastic coach and I owe a lot to her for getting me to the point I'm at today. She taught me a lot of life lessons. I think it was huge for me, kind of recognizing that women can do anything at that young of an age," Boykin said.

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