Beneath rivalry lies history of friendship

Nolan Smith distinctly remembers the high school game when he followed teammate Ty Lawson’s score with one of his own. Then he watched Lawson steal the ball on defense and dribble all the way back to convert, again.

It was a familiar scenario for the Oak Hill Academy guards. Only this time, they were playing wing and forward, respectively.
“People were already intimidated by us, because they knew who we were on the basketball court,’’ said Smith, who was a year behind Lawson at the Virginia boarding school. “So when they saw us on the soccer field, they had to respect our speed.”

Before the friends became rivals at No. 6 Duke and No. 3 North Carolina — which will play Wednesday night at Cameron Indoor Stadium — Smith and Lawson were Warriors teammates in two sports. Playing spring soccer in 2006 was somewhat of a whim, but it helped keep them in shape and hone their footwork.

charlotteobserver.com
2/10/09