Close friends and Wings Academy teammates Jessie Govan and Desure Buie finished their high school careers in the same game, on the same court, just not as teammates.
Govan, who is headed to Georgetown, and Buie, a Hofstra-commit, were on opposing sides of the regional boys’ basketball all-star game of the Jordan Brand Classic at Barclays Center on April 17.
It marked the first time the pair hadn’t been on the same squad in more than two years and their first game as opponents since Buie played with Wings and Govan with St. Mary’s (L.I.) in the local Beacon tournament their sophomore years. The change took a little getting use to early on. The two in opposite jerseys were also interviewed on the video board prior to the contest.
“I never envisioned myself playing against him,” Buie said. “It was weird shaking hands, going to half court and looking at him the on the other side.’
Buie noted that he was surprised when he was first told they wouldn’t be together after playing at Wings and with the New York Lightening AAU team. The pair petitioned the event’s organizers to be reunited, but were told its was done to create the best matchups in the game. Bishop Loughlin stars Mike Williams and Khadeen Carrington faced a similar fate last year.
“We kind of understood,” Govan said.
The two embraced the opportunity from there. Govan did his fair share of trash talking, continually telling Buie how his team would beat his. Govan indeed got the bragging rights as his East Team came out on top 125-112 over Buie’s West squad. Govan scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds and Buie had three points and three assists. Iona Prep and Notre Dame commit Matt Ryan chipped 15 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the East.
“We will probably be talking his smack, but he’s not going to say too much because he wasn’t guarding me today,” Buie said.
Added Govan “I’m going to talk his ear off.”
The experience overall was a memorable one. The pair got to play with and against some of the best player in the country in front of a large crowd at Barclays Center that included Michael Jordan himself.
“It is a once in a lifetime thing,” Buie said. “You don’t get this back. I had fun.”
The Wings duo was able to accomplish plenty together this season. They led the school to its first PSAL Class AA city title and knocked off two-time defending state Federation Christ the King for the program’s first Federation crown.
“We accomplished all our goal,” Govan said. “We won the city championship. We won the state championship. Number one in New York. It was a great experience.”