CONCORD, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – 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, the other at UNC.
“Now this is bragging rights for probably eternity because it may never happen again,” said Coach Jody Barbee.
The rivalry doesn’t get any bigger than Carolina and Duke.
“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,” said Barbee.
For one year in high school, Wendell Moore, Jr. and Leaky Black were teammates at Cox Mill in Concord.
“Both of them are rock stars, like I said it’s like literally getting on a bus with a band every night because everywhere we went, it was like a sideshow, places were packed, sold out,” said Barbee.
Barbee, now the coach at Mount Pleasant High School coached Moore for four years in high school at Cox Mill High School before Moore moved up to play for Coach K at Duke.
“Day one even as a freshman you could see it, and I felt like he was our best player as a freshman,” said Barbee.
Leaky Black came to Cox Mill for his senior year in high school before he went on to UNC.
“He was a dream come true to coach,” said Barbee.
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,” said Barbee.
One game, two former players, and only one choice for coach.
“Carolina’s my team and it’s been my team since I was knee-high to a grasshopper,” said Barbee.
But he’s also cheering on number zero at Duke, remembering the day Moore signed to 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,” Barbee concluded.