Whether its working on the ranch, running drills in practice or trading shots with the Western Slope League’s finest, Andrew, Angelo and Zach Raftopoulos most often can be found in the same spot.
Brothers Andrew and Zach Raftopoulos, along with cousin Angelo “Hodge” Raftopoulos, do almost everything together.
From lunch break to free throws, where there is one Raftopoulos, there usually is two more nearby.
All three suit up for the Moffat County High School boys varsity basketball team, but all three players have been setting picks and making no-look passes for one another since they could pick up a ball.
“Ever since we were little, our dads have coached,” said Hodge, 17. “Our siblings have all played basketball. We’re a basketball family.”
Zach said playing against teams such as Steamboat Springs and Glenwood Springs is better with his brother and cousin on his side.
“I like it,” he said. “We all have each other’s backs, and these guys set some pretty mean picks for me.”
Zach, 16, is the youngest of the three, and plays guard.
Andrew, 18, said his younger brother is the most agile player of the three.
“He’s a point guard, a good three-point shooter and he gets pretty emotional during the games,” he said. “He’s a guard and a better dribbler than me.”
As for Hodge and Andrew, they play basketball with a physical style ingrained in them from days growing up on a ranch.
Zach said Hodge and Andrew share more than a last name as their style of play is similar.
“There’s not much difference — one’s a post and the other is a wing,” he said. “Same brutality.”
About Andrew, Hodge said his cousin will fight for any loose ball.
“He likes to get rough, he’s a good rebounder,” he said. “He’s not afraid to throw some elbows.”
That physical style of play is what Zach calls Hodge’s trademark.
“When Hodge sees a chance to throw an elbow, he’ll throw it,” Zach said. “Compared to some of the other post players, you can always count on him being pretty rough. Some of those guys never want to get physical, and for Hodge, that’s pretty much his game right there.”
The three don’t just work and play together.
“We’re always doing stuff together,” Hodge said. “We always hang out.”
But being around each other for most of the day can sometimes take its toll, Zach said.
“We can get on each other’s nerves, but we always make up,” he said. “That’s what family is all about.”
Zach, who is a fast-paced point guard whose signature move involves him driving to the lane and then sending a no-look pass to the post, said playing with someone he is familiar with has helped him.
“For a while there, Hodge was the only one who could catch my passes,” he said.
“I can just tell when he’s going to pass it,” Hodge added.
Because Andrew is a senior, he hasn’t always played on the same court as Zach and Hodge.
“I haven’t played with them as much, but I know them,” he said. “The bond we have helps us play together.”
Next year, the trio will be split up when Andrew goes to college.
“I’ll miss him more outside of basketball than in basketball,” Zach said before pointing to Hodge. “But I’ll still have this guy.”