COLUMBUS, Ohio – The most painful part of the end of the NCAA Tournament is for all but the national champion team, the eliminated teams whose seniors played their last college games.
For Fairleigh Dickinson, after a 78-70 loss to FAU in the second round Sunday night at Nationwide Arena, the loss ended the collective heart and soul of its program, guards Demetre Roberts and Grant Singleton.
The two have played together for five years and have been roommates all that time, San Tomas Aquinas II. Division, where they played under coach Tobin Anderson and ended this past season with FDU after Anderson moved on to his new job.
“They’re like sons to me,” Anderson said. “They’ve been playing Division II basketball for four years and if you watch these last two games, if you put a neutral person and watch these two guys play, they’re very good guards. But they’re even better people. I’m sad because I don’t have those two to coach anymore opportunity.”
Roberts and Singleton, combined for nearly 4,000 points in college.
They were 15-6 in postseason games with STAC and FDU. And, after Sunday night, they will never play another college game together.
FDU’s Grant Singleton and Demetre Roberts have played together since they were on coach Tobin Anderson’s team at St. II of Thomas Aquinas College.USA TODAY Sports
“Me and Grant have been close for five years, so that bond will never change,” said Roberts, who led Fairleigh Dickinson with 20 points against FAU. “We will continue the same. That’s my brother. We bond well on and off the court. It makes everything special. I will love him forever.”
Singleton, who scored just six points on Sunday, said it’s “a bittersweet moment because you always want to make the next game next to your brother.”
“It’s always special to play next to him,” Singleton said. “We feed each other well. That’s been my brother for five years. But even off the court, everything will remain the same. He’ll still be my roommate, he’ll still be the guy I kick every day.
Demetre Roberts and Grant SingletonUSA TODAY Sports
“You always want to adapt to the next game and play, but things happen.”
Joe Munden Jr., one of the returning starters on last year’s four-game winning FDU team, thanked Roberts and Anderson, who sat on either side of him, during the postgame press conference.
“Everything these two guys have done together, including Coach Anderson, has been nothing short of remarkable,” Munden said. “It’s something you really have to sit back and appreciate, because guards like this don’t come along very often. I really want to take this time to say how much I appreciate these two; these three, in fact, including the coach. These guys have come in and changed this program in ways I never imagined.”
“This time last year I was sitting in my dorm room. I didn’t know when he was going to play basketball next. And to bring these guys in and bring them here, to this place where we honestly shouldn’t be, is amazing. These are my brothers for life.”