When Gabe Guidinger walked into his older sister's room on Friday, it wasn’t for one of the reasons that parents dread.
There was no fighting, yelling or arguing between the Central York High School senior basketball standout and his sibling, Jinda. It was just a conversation about how to share — with their friends, family and fans — the news that the next part of their basketball careers would bring the family even closer together.
The pair sat down, helped each other construct their respective Twitter announcements and at 12:57 p.m. pressed send. The tweet alerted everyone that, after two years of separation following the family’s move from Wisconsin to York, Gabe and Jinda had each committed to play college basketball at programs in Minnesota.
The fact that the pair will play fewer than two hours from each other was something that made the family happy on its own terms. The Guidingers' ties to Minnesota college basketball, however, gave the decisions even more meaning.
Jay and Khai Guidinger, the duo's parents, met in Minnesota, where they each played basketball for the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Most of their family lives close to the area and couldn’t be more excited to get to see Gabe and Jinda play without the need to board a plane or spend hours in a car.
“I think it’s cool that they’re writing their own story,” said Jay, who played two seasons in the NBA as a 6-foot, 10-inch center for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the early 1990s. “We certainly didn’t plan it that way, but whatever was stirring the pot, it worked out that way for them. It’s unique and special.”
The recruiting process: Gabe made his decision first. He will join St. John’s University in Minnesota. The Johnnies finished last season as the No. 2 team in the D3hoops.com Top 25 after a 27-2 campaign.
Jinda spent the past two seasons at NCAA Division I Western Illinois University. She decided to enter the transfer portal in April and it just worked out that the program she connected with the most also put her within hours of her brother.
She will join NCAA Division II Minnesota State University, Mankato and compete in the same conference against her parents’ Minnesota-Duluth squad.
Jinda’s favorite part of her second recruiting process was the reaction she got from her brother when she told him of her decision. She expected the typical response from a teenage younger brother — either no reaction or disdain that she was following him to Minnesota. Jinda got neither, and the joy on his face made her realize it was the right choice.
“Seeing his reaction and how happy he was made me feel over the moon,” Jinda said. “We were both so excited for each other, so I couldn’t have asked for a better moment.”
More family connections: In addition to playing against the team her mother, Khai, once played for, Jinda will get to compete against another Guidinger this winter. Abby Guidinger, the siblings’ cousin, plays for the University of Minnesota, Crookston and the family has already begun to plan a road trip when the cousins face each other.
It will be the first time the cousins and former AAU teammates play against each other in an organized game. The early estimate is at least 20 family members will be in the stands that night, granted the winter weather in Minnesota allows for travel.
Gabe said that having his sister home from college because of the coronavirus pandemic helped him make his college decision. Jinda admitted being apart from family was more difficult than she thought coming out of high school. For Gabe, having family nearby to visit and see him play was a factor in his choice.
A unique opportunity: The siblings plan to alternate which one visits the other and are excited about the idea of trips to see each other play when their schedules allow it. After a difficult two years, in which she estimated someone was in the stands to see her play a total of five times, Jinda is happy that the crowd will be filled with some familiar faces again next season.
While 6-foot, 5-inch, 200-pound Gabe doesn’t look forward to leaving the friends and family that made York a place he calls home after two years, he is both relieved and happy that the recruiting process has brought his family closer together, despite attending a school almost 1,200 miles away.
“I’m really excited because not everybody gets to have a sibling an hour or two away when they go to college,” said Gabe, who averaged just more than 10 points per game for the York-Adams League champion Panthers (24-5). “I guess I’m just fortunate to be in this situation that I’m in and I’m ready to get started.”
Reach Rob Rose at firstname.lastname@example.org.