The Best Western South Plains Inn & Suites in Levelland, Texas, is a long way away from the Stevenson Commons Apartments in The Bronx where Saquan Singleton grew up.
Then again, so were the off-the-beaten-path stops at Notre Dame Prep School in Concord, New Hampshire, and Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College before the 6-foot-6 guard settled in on playing the next two years for the UNM Lobos in Albuquerque.
But that part of the basketball journey, Singleton has found out, has been delayed as he and his Lobo teammates have relocated, for now, to a small West Texas town to share a gym with South Plains College – just to get in some preseason practices that currently are prohibited in New Mexico due to a strict public health order.
“It’s been tough,” said Singleton of the unforeseen circumstances that put the Lobos’ season on hold while the rest of college basketball, including schools like Alabama and TCU that also recruited him, have moved on to a season that began Wednesday.
“But at the same time, it’s been fun, you know – bonding with teammates, with the coaches, spending more time not really on the court, but off the court … just getting to know each other. And just bond as much as we could.”
At 22 years old, Singleton doesn’t have a game under his belt in a Lobos uniform, but knows his role on a roster of new faces has as much to do with setting an example as it does with anything a stat sheet can show.
Lobos coach Paul Weir called Singleton a “Swiss Army knife.”
“I’m ecstatic about just how he is,” Weir said. “He’s just one of those guys you can pencil into for a lot of minutes. I don’t know where and I don’t know how, but I think they’re just going to be very productive minutes across the board.”
Though he played point guard in junior college, there’s been high praise at that spot for players such as North Carolina transfer Jeremiah Francis and returning sophomore Kurt-Curry Wegscheider, among others. Singleton knows he can handle that role in spots if needed but has no problem with Weir’s description of him.
“That’s great with me,” Singleton said. “Whatever coach needs me to play, hey, I’m gonna play it. If he needs me to play the 5, I guess I’ll be a big man.”
Rod Brown, also a Lobo newcomer developing into a team leader in practices, said Singleton is the type of player teammates love to have.
“When he’s on the court, he’s a definitely a stat-sheet stuffer,” Brown said. “Every time I look up, he’s grabbing the rebound. Every time I look up, he’s (dishing) an assist, getting a deflection here and there, he’s the first one on the floor (for loose balls). I see him bringing his team in a huddles. … It’s kind of fun, actually, being on the same court as him …”
REMEMBER THEM? A pair of Lobos with 46 combined starts on last season’s drama-plagued UNM squad got fresh starts – as starters – with their new teams on Wednesday as graduate transfers.
Zane Martin, who transferred to Towson in August, started for them in an 89-54 loss to No. 4 Virginia. He scored six points on 3-of-9 shooting (0-4 3-pointers) with three assists and three turnovers.
Vance Jackson, who started his college career at UConn before spending three years at UNM and being a regular starter the past two seasons, started Wednesday for Arkansas in its 142-62 win over Mississippi Valley State. He had 15 points on 5-of-9 shooting with 7 rebounds. He now has 1,005 career points scored – 258 at Connecticut, 732 at UNM and 15 at Arkansas.
Tavian Percy, immediately eligible at Weber State, also played late Wednesday against Division II Adams State.