In the game of life, Elliot Cadeau and Cormac Ryan are not in the same gym.
Ryan is 25. He has attended Stanford and Notre Dame and finished his MBA last spring. Cadeau is 19. He just started college after leaving high school before his senior year. He’s still working on his first-year foundations.
That's not a knock on Cadeau. He’s simply in a different stage of life.
But if you want to talk about the game of basketball, Cadeau and Ryan both reside in the Dean E. Smith Center. Both are crucial starters for the No. 3 North Carolina Tar Heels. And they both — as the youngest and oldest Tar Heels, respectively — are set to play in their first UNC–Duke game on Saturday.And in this rivalry, even for those who've played in it before, you never truly know what’s coming.
“I would like to go into a game knowing what to expect,” veteran center Armando Bacot said. “But [not knowing] definitely makes it a lot of fun. It makes this rivalry what it is."
Ryan has played in 136 college basketball games. He’s played in three NCAA tournament games, scoring 29 in the first round in 2022. He’s competed against Duke four times and dropped 28 on the Blue Devils in 2021.
There isn't a lot Ryan hasn’t experienced in college basketball, but Saturday will be a first. What won’t be different, however, is Ryan’s leadership.
At any given stoppage of play, the Tar Heels huddle on the court and Ryan is almost always at the center of it, barking out instructions or encouragement. You can see his leadership. And during timeouts, head coach Hubert Davis said Ryan is a vocal presence with his teammates.