‘Cousin Effect’: Bethany Teammates Discover They’re Related

By Justin Zackal

Bethany junior guard Andrew Williams.

Teammates saying they are “like family” is a trope heard often around college sports. Two upperclassmen on the Bethany College men’s basketball team have said that until someone told them they actually are family.

“It’s kinda crazy,” said senior guard Antonio Rudolph. “One day my mom called me she said, ‘You know you and Andrew are cousins, right?’ I said, ‘How? … And what are you talking about?’”

Rudolph’s mom, Courtney Hudson, explained to him that he’s related to junior guard Andrew Williams even though the two shared a backcourt for two seasons.

It all started last summer when someone posted a photo on social media of Williams and another Bethany teammate, Calique Jones. According to Rudolph, one if his cousins saw the photo and thought Williams looked familiar.

“It just went off of that,” Rudolph said.

Rudolph’s grandfather, Fletcher Hudson of New Castle, Pa., and originally from Alabama, is Williams’ uncle, making the two Bison teammates second cousins.

Williams remembers Rudolph as a good player in high school for New Castle High. Williams attended Oil City High School, about 50 miles from New Castle.

When Williams arrived at Bethany a year after Rudolph, they became friends.

“We were already close at first, but now we’re extremely close,” Williams said. “We hang out all the time and play 2K (video game) together and play basketball together.”

So when they found out they were related it wasn’t exactly like the scene from the movie Step Brothers: “Did we just become best friends? / Yep!”

“Before it was like ‘What’s up?,’ now it’s like ‘What’s up, little cuz?’ or ‘What’s up, big cuz?,’” Rudolph said. “Now it feels like we knew each other for so much longer for some reason.”

Bethany senior guard Antonio Rudolph.

On the score sheet they were pretty close last year, 326-271, with Rudolph averaging 12.1 points per game and Williams 11.3. But this year they are even closer. Again they are ranked second and third on the team in scoring, but only eight points (234-226) separate them through games played Jan. 28. Rudolph averages 12.3 per game, 13th in the PAC, while Williams is 19th in the league with a 11.9 scoring average.

Bethany is 12-7 this year and 7-5 for fourth place in the PAC. Last year, the Bison finished third but were upset in the semifinals of the PAC tournament.

Both players talked about how much they’ve improved, but that doesn’t mean the there’s more competition among the newfound family members.

“It’s all competition (with everyone on the team),” Rudolph said. “But with me and Drew it’s who can play defense better. That’s a similarity with us two.”

If Bethany’s able to make a run at the PAC title this year, the reasons could point to the familial bond and improved play of two teammates.

Rather than a cause and effect, you can call it a “cousin effect.”