C.J. Fair, the man who seemed to be the only one able to shoot from anywhere atop an aircraft carrier when the Syracuse Orange men's basketball team took on San Diego State, returned home to the Dome to aid the Orange in silencing the Seahawks of Wagner.
"I think I'm getting out to a decent start," said Fair. "[This game] wasn't my best day. I mean it wasn't my best day offensively, but defensively I think I was active and stuff. But, I mean, that happens." Fair made only one of his five attempts from the field, but came up with four defensive rebounds, two blocks, and two steals to assist the offense even on a poor shooting night.
With Syracuse tied with Wagner early in the game, 13-13, Fair connected on both of his free throw attempts to give the Orange the lead once again, which they would not give up for the remainder of the game. Fair shared how important it was to take the lead back early on, not just against Wagner, but in general when facing an adversary. "I mean it's very important," Fair stated. "You don't wanna give a team confidence, so right then and there, in the beginning of the half, they had a lot of confidence. They took the lead, but we just luckily calmed them down. Then from there we took the lead and didn't look up."
He does not want to give confidence to opponents, but rather to his teammates, sharing how he believed Baye Keita, DaJuan Coleman, and Jerami Grant performed in the team's home-opener. "I think all those guys you named did very well, especially Baye Moussa Keita," Fair expressed. "He came in, he can bring a lot of energy, he finished a lot of plays. And that's what we need out of him." Keita had 15 points, all in the second half, attained from close to the rim and at the free throw line.
"It makes the game much easier, with him being an offensive threat and finishing plays," Fair continued. "That helps our team out a lot."
Moving to the freshman on the team, of whom share the frontcourt with him, Fair said, "Him (DaJuan Coleman) and Jerami [Grant] [are] still getting the ropes on how to play college basketball but I think they be [will] good after game in and game out." Coleman has improved between the first two games defensively, going from two rebounds against San Diego State to seven versus Wagner. He added a point to his total in the first match, finishing with three against the Seahawks, and also recorded the first steal of his career at Syracuse in the second game.
Grant also improved in different areas, going from no points to five, one defensive rebound to four, and no assists to two as he continues to get accustomed to the collegiate game.
As they grow, Coleman and Grant do not have far to look when it comes to player development. Fair, a junior, has done nothing but grow, getting more and more involved with the team in rebounds, steals, and inside and outside play, as well as stepping up to block away opportunities.