"I love kids," said senior Larry McKnight Jr. "I'm an only child so I always wanted siblings. He fills that void for me having a little brother. He makes me a better person at the end of the day."
Video of 6-year-old LeVelle Moton Jr., or VJ, and McKnight, his favorite player, went viral after VJ got emotional in the locker room after the senior's final home game.
If you’ve ever been to a @NCCUAthletics men’s basketball game you know VJ... what you may not know is the extent of his relationship with one of the Eagles. That story coming up on @ABC11_WTVD pic.twitter.com/uRE1T9Eu2w— Bridget Condon (@BridgetABC11) March 19, 2019
VJ said McKnight is his favorite because he spends time with him.
"It did hit me though," McKnight said. "That was just something, I've never experienced that before. It was just shocking to see somebody that really cares about me."
When VJ was asked about that night, it was evident that the emotions about McKnight graduating are still raw for the youngster.
"I cried," VJ said. "Because he was going away."
Their relationship is bigger than basketball.
"We watch Thomas the Train and Sonic the Hedgehog," McKnight said. "We talk about his pet dog, we talk about a lot so he always sits with me on the plane or at breakfast. We just talk about anything random."
When it comes to basketball, VJ played a key role in the player McKnight has become for the Eagles.
“Our locker room is a lot different this year. We have some guys that really know and understand what’s at stake.”- Raasean Davis pic.twitter.com/fKobATqhMM— Bridget Condon (@BridgetABC11) March 19, 2019
"My son was working on his numbers at that particular time in school," said Coach Moton. "He said, 'daddy, I'm telling you zero is the hero.' I just thought it was a cliché that he learned in school. I laid down and I said why not give Larry a chance, because that was his number.
"The next game I put him in, he had like 22 points on 7-7 shooting," Moton added. "I thought my son was like a prophet or something and then they just developed a relationship. What you saw was the innocence, the purity, and the raw emotion of a kid that has connected with someone on my team just genuinely."
NC Central plays against North Dakota State in the First Four on Wednesday night. The winner gets Duke in Columbia, South Carolina, on Friday.