One day in the spring of 1979, Morgan Wooten, De Matha High School coach, proud as a papa, called senior guards Sidney Lowe and Dereck Whittenburg into his office.

"He told us we'd be playing together for Coach Norm Sloan at North Carolina State," Lowe remembered this week.

And several weeks later, Thurl Bailey, a skinny, 6-foot-11 forward from Bladensburg High School, agreed to attend N.C. State.

"I didn't even know Sid and Dereck had signed," Bailey said.

"Sheer coincidence," said Lowe.

Lowe was most heavily recruited. Sloan thought Lowe was one of the best high school point guards in the nation.

Notre Dame liked him. Maryland, guard heavy at the time, didn't really go after Lowe.

Sloan hoped to get a big shooting guard, like Quintin Dailey. But there was something he liked about Lowe. At a practice session before the Capital Classic, skeptics wondered what N.C. State, playing in the Atlantic Coast Conference, would do with two 6-foot guards.

Bailey wasn't even a priority recruit at first. State was interested in Sidney Green, who would later go to Nevada-Las Vegas; Clark Kellogg, Ralph Sampson and Sam Bowie.

"But we had to be realistic," said Marty Fletcher, then Sloan's assistant at State. "We decided to go hard after the skinny kid at Bladensburg."

Bailey remembers Georgetown being interested. Maryland thought it was in good shape to get Bowie, the always-injured Kentucky center.

"Just coincidence that we all got together," said Bailey. "Just destiny that it all worked out this way."