If it wasn’t for the fourth player they picked up, they could be called Team Redden.
After the first day of the 20th Hoopfest, the Redden triplets are thankful that Hayden Burris – at 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds – is on their team.
The eighth-graders-to-be won both of their games Saturday, topping Rider Gray of Port Angeles, Wash., 20-6 and Montana Shooters of Helena 16-14.
The Redden brothers came into the world together 13 years ago and they’re playing in their first Hoopfest this weekend. They’re the sons of former Eastern Washington University football player and assistant coach Rick Redden.
Brad, Jacob and Derek were born to Redden and his wife, Michelle, at Sacred Heart Medical Center on March 22, 1996. Making their arrival more spectacular at the time was the fact they were the second set of triplets born at the hospital in the same month.
Rick Redden may have been prophetic when he talked about the birth of the triplets a month after their arrival.
“I’ve got my own Hoopfest (team),” Redden was quoted in a newspaper story published April 30, 1996.
The Reddens returned last week from China where they lived last year. They call Richland their home in the United States, since that’s where they were living before moving overseas.
They will return to Shenzhen, China – located across Deep Bay from Hong Kong – in late August for a second year at QSI-Shekou, the largest international school in the region.
After Redden completed his college playing career, he embarked on a whirlwind collegiate coaching career. He spent 17 years as an NCAA Division I assistant with stops at Oregon, Washington, Cal State Fullerton, EWU and Weber State before he landed in Richland four years ago. He was the head coach at Richland High for three seasons before the family moved to China.
“I never got to see my kids while I was coaching in college,” Redden said. “It seemed like I spent all my time recruiting northern Orange County (near Los Angeles) all the way to the Mexican border.”
While coaching at Richland, he worked for his brother-in-law’s construction business. His brother-in-law is former Pittsburgh Steelers standout defensive end Kimo von Oelhoffen.
The opportunity to move his family to China was something Redden couldn’t pass up.
“It was an opportunity to take a break in life and spend some quality time with our children, seeing another part of the world,” said Redden, 44, a prep standout at Kamiakin in Kennewick. “It’s been a chance of a lifetime for my kids to see the world. They’ve played five sports over there – basketball, rugby, baseball, track and soccer. They have five sports seasons. It’s been a real cultural blessing, too. They’ve swum with dolphins in Thailand, visited the Great Wall of China six weeks ago and toured Beijing among many, many things. They get to mix with kids from other cultures. It’s been so culturally enriching.”
The boys hadn’t been in Richland 48 hours before they were attending the Bomber Basketball Camp at Richland High on Monday.
“They had a little jet lag,” Redden said.
Brad, Jacob and Derek were born eight weeks premature. Brad, who weighed 2 pounds, 8 ounces, is the oldest by less than a minute over Jacob, who was the biggest of the trio at 3 pounds, 14 ounces. Derek, the youngest, was 2 pounds, 8 ounces.
Brad and Jacob are identical. They came from the same egg, which divided at conception. Derek is a fraternal brother, conceived from a separate egg.
The Reddens have wanted to go to Hoopfest in recent years, but this was the first time their schedules allowed them to participate.
This won’t be their last time.
“It’s amazing how big it is,” Derek said. “I’d like to do it every year now.”
They named their team Shekou – which means snake’s mouth in Chinese.
Basketball, the boys say, is their second-favorite sport. Football is their first love.
“During football season, they get up every Monday morning at 4 to watch NFL games on Slingbox on their laptops,” Rick said.
The boys have enjoyed their overseas experience, but they hope to move back to the U.S. after completing eighth grade.
“We want to play high school football and they don’t have American football in China,” Brad said.
Rick Redden, who is Shekou’s athletic director, would like to coach football again.
But for now he’s enjoying being a full-time dad.
“I’ll get back into coaching I’m sure, it’s just a matter of when and where,” he said. “Right now we’re just trying to be unselfish parents. We just want to put our kids in a prospering situation.”