Former Kokomo basketball player Alan Arnett's phone gets text messages while he's playing games at Georgia Southwestern. They keep coming and coming, as though he could read them during games.
The person sending them is in Italy, watching live, keeping tabs on him while living and playing abroad.
Another former Kokomo Wildkat, Brandon Wood, is that person on the other end, watching games live on his computer from his place in Italy.
"I stay up until 1, 2, 3 in the morning," Wood said this week when reached by phone in Italy. "Throughout his whole game, I'm texting his phone like he has it. 'That's a bad turnover. You missed that free throw. You've got to dunk on him. Make that jump shot.'"
Wood keeps an eye on Arnett, who is a senior at Georgia Southwestern. Wood, a former Kokomo standout, can't go to Arnett's games. He's got his own hoops career to attend to after a mid-season transfer to Pallacanestro Trieste, a level up from where he started the season.
"[Arnett] has been having a big season," Wood said. "That's my best friend. He came up under me on the court and off the court. I feel like I've taught him a lot and he's made me very proud. I couldn't be a prouder big brother for him.
"I watch every single one of his games. We text all day, every day. We're constantly pushing each other. I push him in the classroom, I push him on the court. We've been through a lot of the same situations on and off the court. We could easily not be where we are today. We could easily be off path."
Where Wood's path has taken him is scenic Trieste, Italy, a city on the Adriatic Sea in northeastern Italy, just a few minutes drive from the border with Slovenia. He joined Pallacanestro three weeks ago after spending the front half of the season with Affrico Basket Firenze.