When the Peters’ kids play basketball together, father Kurt Peters has one rule: Don’t ever let someone win.
As the youngest of three siblings, freshman Haley Peters grew up knowing what it means to fight to win. And she partly has older brother Casey Peters, a senior on the men’s basketball team, to thank for it.
“I just spent all day with my brothers and with my dad and I spent a lot of time with them playing basketball,” Haley said. “When I got older we would play one-on-one. They are a big reason why I am good at basketball because I got to play with them.”
Head coach Joanne P. McCallie said Peters is one of the hardest working players she has ever seen. A McDonald’s All-American selection, Peters joined Duke’s squad this season and has already solidified herself as a strong presence on the team. She averages 16 minutes per game and shoots 52 percent from the field while chipping in an average of 5.7 points.
“Haley’s grown all season long,” McCallie said. “She plays so hard. Nobody has a better work ethic or character.”
Haley’s father said that the success she has seen in her first year traces back to her close relationship with her brothers. Along with Casey, Haley has an older brother, Ryan, who is a sophomore forward at Emory.
“Casey and Ryan were a big part of the reason that she learned how to compete against bigger stronger people,” Kurt said. “She has outworked everyone since she was a little girl. If she has a success, she works hard and if she has a failure she works even harder.”
Casey and Haley Peters represent the first brother-sister pair to play basketball at Duke at the same time, but their roads to becoming Blue Devils could not of been any more different. While Duke recruited Haley heavily in high school, Casey was a student manager for two seasons before he joined the team as a walk-on.
“Their experiences are so different, but they both love their teammates and the game,” Kurt said. “That is where their experiences are the same and that is the best part.”
Casey said he was excited when he heard the news that his little sister would join him as a Blue Devil—almost as excited as when he was told that his two years of hard work as a manager paid off.
“When I heard I was going to be on the team it really was like a dream come true, and I was also happy for Haley,” Casey said. “Haley and I have been so close all of our lives, and we are so similar. I didn’t want to be a part of her decision process, but I knew it would be a factor and when she decided to come I was happy.”
Although Haley said her brother wasn’t the only factor she considered when she decided where to sign, she said it was a significant part of her decision.
“From my point of view, having him here was an important part of it because I knew from him how much better you could get from [being at Duke],” Haley said.
Now that Haley and Casey are on Duke’s campus together, Haley said they are closer than they have ever been. Whether it’s a friendly face at all her home games, someone to listen when she is frustrated or someone just to have dinner with, she said her brother’s presence has been helpful throughout Duke’s eventful season.
“He’s been really helpful with the ups and downs of the season and dealing with school,” Haley said. “He has been a manager and a walk-on and a student, and he has had every experience here that you could think of. It’s just really nice to have someone like that that you aren’t a teammate with and not a classmate, but he is still my brother and I can talk to him about anything.”
Haley said she has been happy with her progress this season as a Blue Devil. She said she is particularly impressed with her ability to play more “free” in the last couple of games—she recently had a strong six points and seven rebounds in nine minutes of play against North Carolina—and she is confident if she continues to work hard she will continue to play better.
Her brother said that her drive to continue to improve is similar to what he sees in one of his fellow teammates.
“Haley is a lot like Kyle Singler—she is all about winning,” Casey said. “She is happy when they are winning. She is incredibly competitive and I know what she can do and when she gets the chance to contribute, they have a really good chance of success.”
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