Basketball bids farewell to seniors

After the completion of a successful season, the four seniors on the men’s basketball team are leaving with a sense of accomplished goals and even higher future aspirations. The three guards, Victor Monaros, Rome Sanders and Brian Greene; and one center, Darius Glover, have plans to compete in the NBA or overseas.

Glover, a 23-year-old criminal justice student from Chicago and a transfer from Olney Central Community College, said although there were some exceptions during his college career, for the most part his years at FAMU were “excellent.”

“I feel like I accomplished my goals,” said Glover, a center. “We won MEAC and had 21 wins in the season.”

He said one of the few exceptions was the lack of support he felt the athletic administration provided to the basketball team and other sports throughout his college career.

“The administration staff was not always there for us until we started winning,” he lamented. “Everyone needs to support all coaches and programs whether they are up or down.”

Glover said he will hire an agent after graduating and prepare for competition in the professional league or overseas.

Head coach Mike Gillespie said all the seniors have the talent to compete on a higher level. Gillespie along with the basketball coaching staff are seeking agents for Glover as well as Greene and Sanders.

“We’re trying to get the best people to put them in that situation, to make some money,” Gillespie said.

Monaros, a guard, has made plans to compete professionally in Puerto Rico or the Dominican Republic. The criminal justice student from Queens, N.Y. said he is proud of winning the MEAC championship, but his years as a collegiate athlete were hard.

“I struggled with my injuries,” said the 6’4 Monaros. “I’ve gotten used to not being a part of the rotation.”

As for the team he is leaving behind Monaros said he is confident in their ability to compete at a high level next year.

“They got a good squad, the program is only going to get better,” he said.

Sanders, a 22-year-old criminal justice student from Chicago, said he appreciated the opportunity to have played for FAMU and accomplished most of his goals.

For the future Sanders is also aspiring to play in the NBA or overseas. If the professional field does not go as planned Sanders hopes to be able to one day coach his own team.

“As long as it involves basketball, I’m fine,” he said.

Sanders, a starting guard, said his years at FAMU have taught him lifelong lessons that he hopes he can one day pass on to his athletes.

“I learned to be more humble and to work with what I got,” Sanders said.

Although the team did not advance past the first round of the NCAA tournament this season, the Rattler men were still victorious in the MEAC.

For the most part all the Rattlers seniors said they could have tried more and done better throughout their past years. Gillespie however, stated differently.

“I got their best effort; they were tired and exhausted,” Gillespie said.

“There was nothing left in the tank. Their effort was not questioned.

“The team can learn from their leadership and sacrifice. They were not selfish, they put their personal agendas aside for the betterment of team,” Gillespie continued.

Aside from their athletic accomplishments, the four men also share a significant accomplishment in their personal lives. Each senior is going to be the first person to graduate in his immediate family.

6’5 starting guard Brian Greene, who is also a criminal justice student, will be remembered for his buzzer-beating shot that helped the team conquer the MEAC title and advance to the NCAA tournament play-in game. Greene has set his sights on professional competition just like his graduating teammates.

The Jacksonville native said he will use the lessons from basketball he picked up at FAMU in his years as a graduate, athlete and man.

Greene said he learned the importance of keeping his poise, learning from his weaknesses and that when he is sitting down, someone else is working hard and getting better. If Greene’s professional plans in basketball don’t come to fruition, he said his alternative is to work with juvenile delinquents.

As for the underclassmen who are competing next year Greene said, “They will be alright. They know what team chemistry is and what it takes.”

Greene also expressed that he will miss all of his team members when he leaves.

Although Gillespie is eager to brag about this particular group of seniors, he is especially proud of their invaluable contributions to the team. He said the list of qualities is endless.

“They are tremendous leaders, the best group of guys I have ever been around,” Gillespie said. “Their will to win was incredible. Their competitiveness is remarkable. These guys never let up or gave up.”