Roberts Caps Hectic March With 18-Assist Game
Who’s had a better month of March, the Florida Gulf Coast University men’s basketball team, or New Orleans Hornets point guard Brian Roberts?
While obscure FGCU hoops has stormed its way into the nation’s consciousness by improbably reaching the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament, Roberts did likewise on Monday by dishing out 18 assists in a surprising win over the red-hot Denver Nuggets. The relatively-unknown 27-year-old’s 18 dimes were the most by any NBA rookie this season. It was just his second NBA start.
Even better, his 18-assist performance isn’t even the most memorable aspect of Roberts’ personal version of “March Madness.”
On March 8, Roberts became a father for the second time, when wife Jenna gave birth to a baby boy, Cole, at Ochsner Hospital in New Orleans. The couple also has a 5-year-old daughter, Alana.
Coincidentally, just two days after Cole’s birth, Roberts made his first NBA start, registering nine points and nine assists in a dramatic win over Portland.
“It was a pretty hectic couple days,” the University of Dayton product remembered. “It’s been a little hectic around the house lately. But it’s a good hectic. (Cole) is doing great. He’s healthy – that’s the main thing. My wife and he were healthy.”
Hectic is one way to put Roberts’ weekend of March 8-10. The Hornets also had a game in Memphis on March 9, forcing him to catch a flight to Tennessee in order to play that night. In a fortuitous break, Memphis is one of the two closest NBA cities to New Orleans (Houston is the closest).
“It was a good thing we played Memphis. If we had been playing almost anywhere else, I don’t think I would’ve been able to get there on time,” a smiling Roberts said. After landing in Memphis only a few hours before tip-off – following a layover in Atlanta – the proud new papa of a baby boy scored nine points and handed out three assists in 17 minutes of playing time.
Roberts describes his 2 1/2-week-old son as a sound sleeper so far, a luxury many parents don’t have with a newborn.
“He’s done pretty well with his sleep. He’s had just a couple nights where he’s been up the majority of the time. That makes it a lot easier,” said Roberts, who had to leave New Orleans from March 11-17 due to a three-game road trip. “It hasn’t been too bad of a transition. We had a long road trip right after he was born, so I was with him for only a day and a half, and then we left for a week. During that week, I was just antsy to get back to New Orleans, to be with him some more.”
In the nine games since Cole was born, his father has played some of his best basketball of the season, capped by the headline-generating 18-assist outing vs. Denver. His previous high for assists in a game was nine, which occurred in the March 10 game played 48 hours after the birth.
“Everything has been new for me this year,” said Roberts, who had played professionally overseas since going undrafted by the NBA in 2008. “It’s been a blessing to start from where I started and to be here today. I don’t take anything for granted. I just want to continue to make the most of it.”