ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) - When the Duke-North Carolina game tipped off in Chapel Hill, all 10 starters on the floor were African-American.
At the Coastal Carolina-UNC Asheville game Saturday, seven of the 10 starters were young black men.
It is not unique - more than 60 percent of Division I college basketball players are men of color.
But it wasn’t always that way.
When Henry Logan, the star guard at Stephens-Lee High - Asheville’s all black high school - first stepped on the court at Western Carolina in 1964, he was a pioneer, the first black man to play basketball there and among the first to play athletics at a predominantly white school in the still mostly segregated South.
He didn’t feel like a pioneer then, but a half-century is a long time for reflection and understanding of what transpired and the impact of playing a game actually had.
“I never really thought about it at the time, that I was doing something important or historic,” Logan, 68, said from his Asheville home. “I just wanted to play ball.”
And play ball he did, better than anyone else from Western North Carolina in the history of the game.
Except for that time in Louisiana, where he and teammate Herbert Moore were not allowed to dress for three games because interracial mingling on the basketball court was not allowed.
In four years at WCU (‘64-68), Logan averaged 30.7 points a game over 107 games.
His 3,290 career points scored is more than 1,200 ahead of the second-place guy on the school’s all-time list, his 1,037 assists nearly 400 ahead of anyone else.
Those are records that not only will never be broken, but likely will never even be approached.
But beyond the amazing leaping ability, shooting touch and quickness of first step that left defenders waving as he went by, Logan’s legacy includes paving the way for generations of players who were more accepted because he and Moore took the abuse, racial slurs and death threats from opposing players and fans.
“I never had any problems in Cullowhee,” said Logan, whose brief pro career included winning the 1969 ABA championship as a rookie with the Oakland Oaks before a knee injury and drug and alcohol abuse ended his career.
“My teammates, students, coaches, everyone was real nice to Herbert and me.”