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Brotherly blood bond: Chris and Cordell Livingston’s trek through basketball

By Garrett Cote

Through all of the inconsistencies in Oak Hill’s twin brother standouts Chris and Cordell Livingston’s high school lives (attending three different schools in their four years), the one thing that remained solid – remained consistent – was their relationship with one another. 

Growing up in Akron, Ohio, Chris and Cordell were quite literally inseparable at birth. The two began and completed their freshman year at Buchtel High School in their home city before transferring to Western Reserve Academy about 30 minutes down the road in Hudson, Ohio. Following that season, the two made the move back to Buchtel before the final stop for their senior season at Oak Hill Academy in Virginia. 

“It was super tough leaving Ohio behind,” Chris said. “But having Cordell by my side made it much easier. We made it better for each other because in a way it still felt like home, having each other around. 

“When you get to the next level, you’ve got to make hard decisions. It was kind of like committing to a college, going away and moving in with new people. Having Cordell was definitely nice.”

Chris Livingston (20) shoots a free throw on Day Three of the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay. (Joe Arruda/The Student)

The connection between the Livingston twins is impossible to ignore. Even though Cordell may not play a substantial amount of minutes for Oak Hill game in and game out, he is constantly the first one off the bench to greet his teammates during a timeout. And the first one he shows love to? That’s right: his twin brother, Chris.

“We were always close, and we did everything together growing up and still do now,” Cordell said. “Whether it was going to new schools together or playing on teams together, we were always with each other.”

Chris added of Cordell, “I mean that’s my twin brother, man, that’s my brother. We’re always going to be close. We’ve been around each other since the beginning. He’s a guard and I’m a wing, so we work together perfectly.”

After the 2021-22 basketball season comes to a close, however, Chris and Cordell will be split apart for the first time. Chris announced his commitment to Kentucky in September, while Cordell is uncommitted but continues to field offers from high profile programs like Memphis. 

“‘Just to stay focused and keep working,’” Chris said when asked what advice he would give to Cordell as he embarks on his own journey. “We’ve always been able to keep each other in check, and just because we’re on our own doesn’t mean it won’t still be that way. I would just tell him to be confident in who he is and he’ll be just fine.”

Similarly, Cordell delivered a matching memo.

“Just to give everything his all. I know that if he does that, he’ll be able to accomplish anything he wants to,” Cordell said. 

Chris’ talents were on full display at the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay, as the soon-to-be John Calipari-coached forward showed exactly why he is one of the more athletic wings in the 2022 class. Late in the first quarter of Oak Hill’s game against LaLumiere School (IN), Chris skied high over the defense to finish a layup off an alley-oop pass coming from a baseline out-of-bounds play. 

A few possessions later, he took flight once again, this time on the defensive end to implant a LaLumiere layup attempt directly into the backboard. After taking a hard fall, he bounced up and sprinted to the other end of the floor as if it never happened. Moments like these are exactly why Chris didn’t hesitate to make the jump to Oak Hill.

“I feel like I’ve been a highly-touted player since I was young, so I feel that people can really see me perform out here since I’m playing against the best,” he said. “Playing at events like Hoophall on TV, it puts you in a position to be the best version of yourself.”

Cordell Livingston (4) looks on during Oak Hill’s game against LaLumiere School on Day Three of the 2022 Spalding Hoophall Classic presented by Eastbay. (Joe Arruda/The Student)

The hustle Chris portrayed Saturday night was striking, and is something he knew would earn him playing time at Kentucky.

“If I play hard all the time I know I’ll play,” he said. “And Kentucky is one of those schools that everyone watches. The fan base and support is incredible, and Coach Cal has done an incredible job to put his players in a position to have success.”

Because the two twins are both Division I basketball-bound, a one-on-one game could make for an intense, competitive battle. Although Chris is ranked in the top 15 of the ESPN 100, he wasn’t too confident he would be the one to come out victorious if they were to duke it out on the court.

“He knows all about me on the court and I know all about him,” Chris said. “We know each other’s tendencies out there from playing a lot of one-on-one.”

Despite Chris towering seven inches over Cordell, Cordell was actually born a minute before Chris – giving him the coveted oldest brother bragging rights. 

“I came out first,” Cordell said. “So technically, he’s my little brother.”

Just as they have been since the womb, Chris and Cordell Livingston will remain inseparable – even through their first long-distance parting they will soon endure.

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