January 18, 2024
‘We might as well be twins’: Azana Baines and Brazil Harvey-Carr, defying the odds
Two Pirates, reunited
Yet they had no idea until they became college teammates.
They could have been just a few rooms down from each other, or even placed right beside each other in the maternity ward.
“They really could’ve been,” Ron, Harvey-Carr’s dad, said with a laugh.
It gets even more improbable.
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Baines and Harvey-Carr are now both 6’1, play the same position and are left-handed. They even both have six siblings.
“We might as well be twins,” Baines joked.
Harvey-Carr’s dad, Ron, and Baines’ mom, Erika, even played basketball for the same high school 30 years prior. When they ran into each other as the girls were training in high school, they started chatting. That’s when they realized that both girls were born on the same date and in the same hospital.
“I thought they were lying,” Seton Hall head coach Tony Bozzella said. “This is the most unbelievable story.”
Baines played for Gloucester Catholic High School and was ranked No. 24 in the country by All-Star Girls Report. She started her career at Duke but transferred after a freshman season when she was a piece off the bench for the Blue Devils. She spent the next two seasons at Virginia Tech, where she was a part-time starter and helped the Hokies make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Harvey-Carr played her high school basketball at Leap Academy, where she scored a school-record 2,293 points. She committed to URI out of high school and spent two seasons in Rhode Island largely as a bench player. She transferred to Manhattan for her junior year and was named to the All-MAAC Third Team.
When Harvey-Carr entered the transfer portal last offseason, Baines had already been with Seton Hall for a year after transferring in from Virginia Tech. When she heard that Harvey-Carr was looking to transfer, she immediately got to work on her own recruiting strategy.
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“I was actually the one who reached out to her and tried to get her to come here,” Baines said. “I was on her visit with her and her little sister, too.”
The two weren’t close before playing together at Seton Hall. Their families knew each other, but Baines and Harvey-Carr had just seen each other in passing. Whether it was pure coincidence or the near-twin telepathy, the two ended up side-by-side for their final year of eligibility.
“This is bigger than just basketball,” said Baines’ mom, Erika. “But this is what brought them together.”
And it’s not just the outside features that bear a scarily similar resemblance — the pair also share traits in the ways that truly matter.
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They’re humble, kind and selfless, according to Bozzella and both parents.
“They really are just good people,” Bozzella said. “They’re just great kids, and that’s hard nowadays.”
“They’re so goofy together,” he added. “They laugh together, but they have respect for each other. … I wish I could have coached them from the beginning, and I wish they could have played together from their beginning.”
They’ve not only formed inside jokes with each other and are one of the first to wish each other a happy birthday, but they’ve built a sense of trust on the court. They know each other well, and it shows during the games.
“I feel like I know Brazil’s game so well, just because I’ve known her for such a long time,” Baines said. “I watched her play for such a long time, so it’s easy to know where she’s at and what she’s capable of.”
“I’m always familiar with what she does,” Harvey-Carr added. “We had a little bit of that action in our last game.”
Seton Hall is off to a 11-6 start this season, with a key victory over then–No. 23 UNLV. While it’s been full of ups and downs, the pair is happy to be going through it all together, on and off the court.
“We’re able to learn from each other a lot,” Baines said. “Off the court, as well. I love the team dynamic and the chemistry that we have. Everyone’s so open and accepting of each other.”
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Baines leads the Pirates in both points (15.5 ppg) and rebounds (6.3 rpg) per game and has scored in double-figures in the last 14 games while Harvey-Carr is a key piece off the bench who has averaged 4.6 points per game this season on 45 percent shooting.
“It’s just great having that South Jersey duo again,” Harvey-Carr said.
Baines and Harvey-Carr may not have started at the same programs, but they ended in the same place and have the opportunity to be together once again — the way that it all started at a hospital in South Jersey.