Earlier this year, Fairleigh Dickinson was the talk of the college basketball world following their historic upset against the No. 1 seed Purdue in the first round of the tournament. This feat was only accomplished one other time throughout a total of 150 games, shining a spotlight on FDU brighter than ever before.
While the attention was great for the program, it also had its negative consequences, as FDU’s head coach at the time, Tobin Anderson, began to reach new levels of fame due to the team’s success. This fame eventually led to him receiving an offer to coach at Iona, which he took, leaving FDU searching for a new coach.
FDU looked inward when looking for their replacement and decided to hire assistant coach Jack Castleberry to fill the role. In his first season as coach, the team has displayed their fair share of struggles, currently sitting with a record of 6-6, but they still stand atop the Northeast Conference (NEC) standings.
FDU did not just lose their head coach, but also their star player, Demetre Roberts, who went on to pursue a professional career in basketball, playing in the NBA G-League and overseas in Serbia. FDU’s two key players who took over for Roberts, have been Ansley Almonor and Sean Moore, who are currently averaging 16.8 and 12.2 PPG respectively.
FDU’s biggest focus will be the NEC tournament, which grants the winner an automatic bid to March Madness. Last season, the tournament was involved in some controversy after Merrimack beat FDU 67-66 in the championship game but were unable to play due to their ineligibility from recently transitioning from Division II to Division I. This year, FDU looks to assure any doubters that last year’s success was not lucky, as they aim for their first tournament win since 2019.
Last season, FDU finished with a 21-16 record, which was good enough to earn them 2nd place in the NEC. Coincidentally, the Knights also started their first 12 games with a record of 6-6, giving FDU hope that history will repeat itself this season with perhaps a few more upsets in store for this year.