More than teammates

Hank and Reggie Kujak, Amanda Lafky

By Stephen Eibes —

Hank (Jr, Blair, Wis.) and Reggie Kujak (Jr, Blair, Wis.) are two brothers from a small town in southeast Wisconsin. They have always loved sports and have been playing organized sports since fourth grade. They played together for the first time in fifth grade, in a hometown football league.

“We’ve always had someone to either play catch or go shoot hoops with; we’ve never been alone. We each knew what each others’ strengths and weaknesses were, so when we did play, we knew what we could get away with, and what we couldn’t get away with,” said Hank.

The two are only 13 months apart, Hank being the oldest brother of three and Reggie in the middle, in front of their youngest brother Nolan. This being the case, the two have always been close, and have also always wanted to beat each other.

“We would want to outplay the other, but never anything very serious,” said Reggie.

Coming from a small school, they played four sports year round: football in the fall, basketball in the winter, track and field in the spring and baseball in the summer.

“It was never really about one sport in high school, I never really gravitated toward a specific one,” said Reggie.

“By the time you finished [a sport] you were ready to get done with it, and try something new. It was something to keep us busy,” said Hank.

The brothers now play strictly football and basketball here at the University of Wisconsin–Stout. Hank plays quarterback and point guard, while Reggie plays tight end and center. In fact, Stout was one of the only schools to offer the brothers the ability to play football and basketball back to back.

“Most schools allowed playing football and baseball, but we both realized we enjoyed baseball, but not as much as football or basketball, and Stout was one of the only schools that told us we could try playing football and basketball back to back,” said Hank.

Playing both sports together has allowed them to grow closer, and they find that they have somewhat of a sixth sense when they play with each other.

“Something that takes two or three years to build with a teammate is something that we already had coming in,” said Reggie. “If I know that I have a pass route going up the middle, and I can see the back linebacker is going to blitz, then I know for sure that the ball is going to come to me. So I turn a little sooner, or turn my route into a hot route, so that Hank can get the ball to me quicker. It’s really a no-brainer. He’s going to throw it to me.”

It doesn’t just stop at football. “In basketball, if I want a screen or a pick on a post play, I don’t need to make any hand motions or yell for a screen. It only takes a look and Reggie knows exactly what to do,” said Hank.

The two can even communicate without looking at each other. Reggie recalled a time in basketball practice, “I knew that a no look pass was coming from Hank. I just needed to hold my position, and I needed to be in the right place at the right time.”

Hank attributes all of their success to their relationship, saying:

“We have now grown to the point where I want my brother to be the better player, and I always watch out for him. Once you mature, you play in a completely different way…I don’t think that a friendship with a stranger could ever be any closer than a friendship with my brother.”

This year, Hank leads the team in assists with 3.8 per game, and Reggie is second on the team in rebounds per game with 4.3.

Make sure you check out the dynamic duo playing together in the last home men’s basketball game before winter break Wednesday Dec. 10 at 7 p.m. against University of Wisconsin–Stevens Point.

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