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Roland makes VCU a sleeper pick

March 12, 2007|Peter Yoon

Dreams of the NCAA tournament seem very far away when you're sleeping in the locker room of a community college in Aiken, S.C.

Just ask Calvin Roland, who knew those sleeping arrangements only too well before he transferred to Virginia Commonwealth.

During his second year at Aiken Tech, Roland's family had fallen on difficult financial times. His parents were evicted from their house, so they and their six children had to scatter among relatives.

Roland, who is 6 feet 10, stayed with his parents at an aunt's home, but several times a month had no way to commute from school to home. So he slept in the locker room, never telling anyone what he was doing, and supported himself with a part-time job at a car dealership.

Upon arrival at VCU, he became a starter but sat out last season because of a back injury. This season he is averaging three points and two rebounds in about 10 minutes a game -- but he came up big in the Colonial Athletic Assn. tournament title game, scoring 12 points in a victory over last year's surprise Final Four team, George Mason.

Now the CAA champions will be facing blue-blooded Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament in Buffalo on Thursday.

If the Rams become this year's Cinderella, Roland will be a player to root for, no doubt.

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