North Carolina

How Myers Park’s Duwe Farris, grandson of Mustangs’ great, leads basketball renaissance

Riding with Recruits: Duwe Farris

Myers Park's Duwe Farris, a 6-6 senior basketball star, is carrying on a family legacy. His grandfather, Ray, was a legendary quarterback for Myers Park football in the 1950s. Recorded on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.
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Myers Park's Duwe Farris, a 6-6 senior basketball star, is carrying on a family legacy. His grandfather, Ray, was a legendary quarterback for Myers Park football in the 1950s. Recorded on Tuesday, February 5, 2019.

One of the stars of the 2018-19 Myers Park High basketball team is the grandson of one of the school’s most famous Mustangs ever.

In 1957, quarterback Ray Farris led Myers Park to the 1957 N.C. 2A state championship game. Farris went onto become an All-ACC quarterback at North Carolina.

Nowadays, Farris - who served on the UNC Board of Governors from 1997-2009 - is often in the stands watching grandson Duwe Farris, a 6-foot-6 forward with a 4.5 grade-point average.

“It’s such a great feeling to see Duwe,” Ray Farris, 78, said this week. “He’s such a good person, too, so that makes it even better.”

Duwe Farris averages 10.5 points and five rebounds for the Mustangs (15-6), who play at East Mecklenburg Friday.

If Myers Park can beat East Meck, Porter Ridge and Independence to finish the regular season, the Mustangs would clinch at least a share of a fifth conference championship since 2001 and close in on their first 20-win season since 2009.

Myers Park has not won a league title in 10 years.

“We’ve got a great group this year,” said Farris, who wears No. 12, the number his grandfather wore at North Carolina. “We’re really close and all friends on the team. The locker room is a lot of fun. It’s been a good journey to go through with all the guys.”

Farris is one of three seniors on the team, and Mustangs coach Scott Taylor credits him with helping improve Myers Park’s program.

“He’s been a consistent piece throughout the growth process over the last three years,” said Taylor, who is in his third season. “I know what I’m getting out of him every day in practice and in games. His approach with how he relates to his teammates is unbelievable. As a coach, I can deal with good and bad, but I don’t like surprises. I know what I get with Duwe.”

Farris is an Eagle Scout who is talking with coaches at schools such as Washington & Lee and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology about playing there next season. Taylor said he may have opportunities to play junior varsity at North Carolina or as a preferred walk-on at Harvard.

Taylor marvels at Farris’ drive. He said Farris self-nominated himself for UNC’s Morehead-Cain Scholarship and one day got a call from his wife, who saw Farris visiting an autistic child at a local hospital. Turns out Farris, who once coached a sixth-grade baseball team while in high school, had met the young man at Myers Park.

Farris walked up to him, sitting alone at lunch, and struck up a conversation. When the young man was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to have a portion of his pituitary gland removed, Farris got friends together to take him food many nights, including on Thanksgiving, and visited on many others.

Farris’ parents didn’t find out about the relationship, which has lasted to this day, until support staff at the school informed them.

“He’s just a class kid,” Taylor said.

Farris also comes from a family of athletes. Doug Duwe, his grandfather on his mother’s side, was a two-time All-America swimmer at Texas in 1959 and 1961. His father, Ray “Rip” Farris III, ran track for North Carolina from 1986-89. And his younger brother, Oliver, is a promising sophomore 400-meter track prospect at Myers Park.

And, before he graduates from Myers Park, Duwe Farris hopes to make a mark at Myers Park the way his grandfather did.

“I want to be remembered as a good teammate and a good friend,” Duwe Farris said. “Someone, once the season ends, that my teammates won’t hesitate to reach out to. I feel like the relationship we made throughout the season is so important and it’s something I want to keep for the rest of my life.”

Langston Wertz Jr. is an award-winning sports journalist who has worked at the Observer since 1988. He’s covered everything from Final Fours and NFL to video games and Britney Spears. Wertz -- a West Charlotte High and UNC grad -- is the rare person who can answer “Charlotte,” when you ask, “What city are you from.”
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