UNLV’s Boone twins’ latest stop in basketball journey is Portsmouth Invitational Tournament

Keylan and Kalib Boone have spent almost all of their basketball careers attached at the hip so it makes sense they were both invited to participate in the 70th annual Portsmouth Invitational Tournament kicked off Wednesday night.

The twin brothers came to Portsmouth after starring for UNLV this season, when they were No. 2 and No. 3 in scoring for the Rebels.

Keylan, who is playing for Jani-King in the PIT, was one of the first players on the court Wednesday night. He finished with 10 points and six rebounds in an 85-79 win over Portsmouth Sports Club.

“It’s amazing to be here,” Keylan said. “I remember two years ago I heard about this Invitational. … I’ve been trying to do my best to get a part of this. … I finally made it happen and it’s amazing. Then to have my brother here, it’s a classic thing. I can’t wait to go against him in one of these games.”

Kalib is representing Sales Systems Ltd. and will play his first game of the tournament Thursday night. He was in the crowd to watch his brother play Wednesday night, something he thought was sort of funny considering the two have been teammates so long and typically share the court.

After the game, Kalib was quick to share his feedback on Keylan’s performance, which included some light-hearted joking doused with brotherly love.

“He looked rusty, he looked slow to start the game,” Kalib joked. “But I was like, once I saw him knock down his first 3, I was like, ‘OK, bet my brother’s gonna go be him.’”

The Boone brothers have been a dynamic duo on the basketball court since high school. Keylan and Kalib dominated the prep rankings while at Memorial High in their hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

They led Memorial to three straight Oklahoma Class 5A state titles and a 77-8 record in those three years. Both were top-three recruits in the state in the 2019 recruiting class and ultimately landed at Oklahoma State.

In their first three years with the Cowboys, Kalib saw more action on the floor. The older of the two brothers — albeit by seven minutes — started in 33 of the 87 games he played for Oklahoma State, averaging as high as 9.4 points per game at one point, while Keylan started in 10 of the 80 games he played and averaged four points per game.

After three years of playing side by side in college, Keylan ultimately transferred to Pacific for his senior year. There, he started 20 games and saw his playing time and production spike. In one year with the Tigers, he averaged 23.1 minutes per game and led the team with 13.9 points per game.

While Keylan was in California, Kalib blossomed into an All-Big 12 player during his senior year at Oklahoma State. In the 2022-2023 season, Kalib averaged 10.6 points per game and started in 30 of the 36 games he played for the Cowboys.

“A lot of people don’t understand that me and Keylan both needed that year apart to grow up some more and not rely on each other,” Kalib said. “He learned some things that he could teach me and I learned some things I could teach him, just in life. That was just extremely important. The first three years of college were great; we always had each other’s back. He was always there.”

An extra year of eligibility brought the brothers back together this season in the form of a reunion at UNLV. Keylan was second on the team in scoring with 12.7 points per game, led UNLV with 6.8 rebounds per game and earned an All-Mountain West Conference nod. Kalib was third on the team in scoring with 11.4 points per game.

“A lot that separates us from back then to now is maturity,” Keylan said. “… Our game (has gotten) more fluid. It has more fluidity to it. So now it was just about just being a gamer every day. Just understanding and taking coaching, adjusting, finding new ways to be impactful, and that’s stuck with us. We’ve always had each other’s back, so there’s no real change. We’ve just grown up in aspects. Other than that, everything stayed the same.”

The brothers this week are playing in a Churchland High gym packed with professional scouts. Keylan hopes to show them he’s a versatile playmaker, while Kalib is looking to prove he has what it takes to be a top defender.

Regardless of what happens in the future, though, they’re just happy to be in Portsmouth together.

“This decision, this whole year was based on being together and playing together,” Kalib Boone said. “Going through this whole process together, we know we might end up in different paths, different careers. Whatever happens, happens, but we wanted this to be a part of this experience together.”

As of Thursday afternoon, there’s no guarantee that the two brothers will face off against one another. But if you spend just five minutes with them, as The Pilot did on Wednesday, you’ll learn the two are chomping at the bit to show who is the better of the two, like any brothers would.

“You’re not ready,” Keylan told Kalib.

“I’m guarding you the whole game,” Kalib hit back.

Michael Sauls, (757) 803-5774,