Duke Basketball, UNC is committed to not letting “rivalry” mar the family relationship

The rivalry between Duke Basketball and North Carolina will not affect the relationship between two commits.

The rivalry between the Duke basketball program and the North Carolina Tar Heels is intense, but two future participants in college basketball’s best rivalry won’t let the outside noise spoil their relationship.

Blue Devils sign Mackenzie Mgbako and Tar Heel sign Simeon Wilcher signed their National Letters of Intent Tuesday afternoon at Roselle Catholic High School (NJ), and both expressed their friendship will prevail through the rivalry.

“It will be the same, we will remain a family. That’s all there is to it.” Mgbako said of next season’s encounter with Wilcher and North Carolina.

Mgabko is listed as a five-star recruit, as well as the No. 5 player in the class of 2023, top-in-class power forward and third-best prospect in New Jersey state, according to 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Duke holds the second-best recruiting tier in the nation as five-star forward Sean Stewart, five-star guard Caleb Foster, five-star guard Jared McCain and five-star forward TJ Power join Mackenzie Mgbako at Durham next season .

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Simeon Wilcher, the headliner in North Carolina’s two-man recruit class, is also listed as a five-star nominee and No. 19 in the country. Four-star forward Zayden High joins Wilcher in the nation’s No. 28 class for the Tar Heels.

“It’s bigger than basketball, so let’s not leave the quote unquoted [Duke-North Carolina] Rivalry comes into our relationship because, at the end of the day, that’s my brother,” Wilcher explained.

“We will go to war forever.”

Duke Basketball, North Carolina familiar with high school teammates

The two elite players, who are teaming up at Roselle Catholic this season, are the first teammates to play their college basketball on Tobacco Road since Adrian Griffin Jr. (Duke) of Archbishop Stepinac (NY) and RJ Davis (North Carolina). ).

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Griffin Jr. only spent one season with the Blue Devils as he was drafted No. 16 overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2021 NBA Draft while Davis is currently in his junior season with the Tar Heels.

Many eyes from Tobacco Road will be on New Jersey this season as Mackenzie Mgbako and Simeon Wilcher lead one of the best high school teams in the country this winter.