CONCORD, N.C. (WJZY) – On Saturday night, two athletes from Concord will compete on college basketball’s biggest stage.
They started out as teammates, and now they’re rivals, one at Duke University, the other at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
“Now this is bragging rights for probably eternity because it may never happen again,” High school coach Jody Barbee said.
The rivalry doesn’t get any bigger than Duke and Carolina.
“When the jerseys go on and the ball goes up in the air, you’re not worried about who he is. At that point in time, you’re trying to win,” Barbee said.
For one year in high school, Wendell Moore, Jr. and Leaky Black were teammates at Cox Mill High School in Concord.
“Both of them are rock stars,” Barbee said. “Like I said, it’s like literally getting on a bus with a band every night because everywhere we went, it was a sideshow, places were packed, sold out.”
Barbee, now the coach at Mount Pleasant High School, coached Moore for four years at Cox Mill High School before Moore moved up to play for Coach Mike Krzyzewski at Duke.
“Day one, even as a freshman, you could see it, and I felt like he was our best player as a freshman,” Barbee said.
Leaky Black came to Cox Mill for his senior year before he went on to UNC.
“He was a dream come true to coach,” Barbee said.
On Saturday night, Moore and Black turn from teammates to competitors on the court.
“They can be best buds at the end of the day, but again it comes down to this one game to get into the National Championship,” Barbee said.
One game, two former players, and only one choice for the coach.
“Carolina’s my team and it has been my team since I was knee-high to a grasshopper,” he said.
But he’s also cheering on No. 0 at Duke, remembering the day Moore signed with the Blue Devils.
“I pull him down, hug his neck, tell him I love him, said, ‘I hope you win 30 games but there’s two or three games I do not want you winning, and I hope you score 40, but I hope the other shade of blue beats you.”