CHARLOTTE — From high school teammates to college rivals -- the journey for former Cox Mill High School Chargers Leaky Black and Wendell Moore has led them both to the Final Four.
“That’s history,” Moore’s mother, Marie, told Channel 9. “We’ve never played each other before in the Final Four. It’s going to be bigger than the Super Bowl.”
We’re just days away from UNC and Duke, one of the biggest rivalries in college sports, colliding on the court for a shot at the NCAA men’s basketball championship. It’s the first time the two teams have ever met in a Final Four matchup.
The game is especially important for two sets of parents, who told Channel 9′s DaShawn Brown they are very loyal to their sons’ teams. By loyal, they mean on one side, there’s Duke. On the other, there’s Carolina. But it wasn’t that long ago when all of the parents were on the same side.
Wendell Moore is a junior at Duke University. He’s the team captain and Second Team All-ACC, and his mom and dad are proud.
“They see us and say, ‘aren’t you Wendell’s parents’ — we’re not Mr. and Mrs. Moore anymore. We’re Wendell’s parents,” said Wendell Moore, Sr. “When he first started, I used to put him on my feet and we used to do moves around mom in the kitchen. Then as he grew older, me and him used to play ... Now, I don’t play with him no more.”
Then there’s Leaky Black, a starter and defensive specialist for the University of North Carolina Tar Heels. He’s also still dancing.
“He always was the youngest and the smallest,” said Carla Black, Leaky’s mom. “He developed a chip on his shoulder.”
She said that chip drives his thoughts when he plays.
“‘I have to figure out a way to stay in the game, I have to figure out a way to fight, to make a difference, to make an impact,’” she said.
Leaky Black’s father, Chon, fondly recalled the steps he took to get where he is now.
“You know, it’s been a long journey. At age 3 and 4, me and him being behind the house shooting on a small goal, until now,” Chon Black said.
Until now. Now, the former Chargers will face off in the ultimate battle of the blues. The two are still friends off the court though, their parents said.
“But when you get on the court, it’s on you know,” Marie Moore said, laughing. “‘Don’t guard me.’”
This time, the two teams will battle for one spot, and the chance to win it all with their pleased parents looking on.
“You want your kids to excel and go further than you were able,” Chon Black said. “So for him to be in this moment has really been surreal.”
“I just want to wish him the best of luck,” Marie Moore said. “Mom and dad will always be your ride and die. He’s my world.”
Knowing the challenges he pushed through makes Saturday’s game that much more meaningful for Leaky Black’s mom.
“He has overcome so many things and it’s not just the injury, it’s the fact that you have to, if no one else believes, you can reach that pinnacle,” Carla Black said. “I still have to pinch myself that we are actually going to play in the Final Four.”
The matchup is Saturday night in New Orleans at the Superdome. Both the Moore and the Black families said they’ll be right there to watch their sons play on one of the biggest stages in college basketball.
(Watch the video below: UNC and Duke make it to Final Four in historic battle of the blues showdown)
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