Junior C.J. Fair has evolved over time for the Syracuse Orange to play both inside and outside as well as contribute defensively. As he grows, Fair continues to look at each performance and how he can get better.
Going into the team's last game versus Eastern Michigan, Fair takes a look back at how he did. "I thought I played OK," said Fair. "I got the shots I wanted to get. Some of them fell, some of them didn't." Fair made only three of his 10 attempts from the field, achieving the rest of his points at the line, making three of his four tries from the charity stripe.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim utilized rotation more-so in the team's last match than in any other game this season. Despite starting, Fair understood the importance of making an immediate impact with an environment of constant change. "You gotta play aggressive in the time you been in there ‘cause you gonna be in there for like five minutes at a time, here and there," expressed Fair. "It's important to get your rhythm early."
With the Orange down until almost the eight-minute mark of the first half, Boeheim instituted the full court press, showing another potential go-to for this season's team. "We tried to speed the game up with the press ‘cause once they got their lead, they start trying to slow it down a little bit," stated Fair. "So we was lucky we caused a lot of turnovers in the press. That really got us going."
"This probably was one of the first times we really like pressed-pressed," continued Fair. "I think we looked good pressing. We look comfortable."
As far as whether or not the Orange can be expected to use the press throughout the rest of the season, Fair said, "It's something that we practice a lot and that we [are] gonna need throughout the season."
Looking forward, Fair had words for one of the new faces on the floor. "Trev (Trevor Cooney), after he hit a couple threes, his confidence was sky high," said Fair.
Last season, Fair skied for a dunk after not being known much for attacking the rim. In Syracuse's last game, it was Cooney's turn. "He got the ability to jump and he does that a lot in practice, so I'm glad he did show it," remarked Fair.
Fair and the rest of the Orange will face an unfamiliar opponent in the Long Beach State 49ers for their next match. Heading into the game, Fair is averaging a little over 11 points per game, making him one of the four Syracuse players who are currently averaging double-figures. He, along with sophomore guard Michael Carter-Williams, is the team's best free throw shooter, making 75% of his tries from the line.
On the boards, Fair is second among the Orange in rebounds per game with 5.5, defensive rebounds per game with 4.5, and total rebounds for the season with 33.