FAIR START: In exhibition win over Kutztown, SU freshman Fair steals show

first_imgJim Boeheim described C.J. Fair as ‘smart.’ Scoop Jardine referred to Fair’s playing style and performance as ‘pretty.’ And after the Syracuse freshman tied for the team-high in points with 14 in his debut Tuesday, Jardine had some words for those unfamiliar with the name of his rookie counterpart. ‘He is going to be good,’ Jardine said. ‘I’m telling you all. ‘Watch.’ Coming off the bench, Fair, a 6-foot-8 forward out of Baltimore, was one of five double-figure scorers for Syracuse in its 96-60 exhibition win over Kutztown in front of 7,371 fans inside the Carrier Dome. In the first of SU’s two tune-up contests prior to the start of its regular season, Fair and his freshman teammates made the most of their first time officially playing on Jim Boeheim Court.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text But Fair was the newcomer from whom Jardine saw intelligence throughout the game — especially on a spin dribble, while posting up, against a smaller opponent in the first half. Fair was the pretty player who got around his opponent swiftly with the spin dribble. And he was one of the highlights of SU’s night with repeated put-back dunks. The freshman forward was second on the team in field-goal percentage, going 5-for-7 from the field for a 71 percent mark. On a night when the Orange was a perfect 13-for-13 from the free-throw line, Fair converted on all four of his attempts. And in the first half, it was a display of that pretty and smart player Fair’s coaches and elders described. For Boeheim, it was an exhibition of Fair being in the right place at the right time. That is what an intelligent freshman will bring to the table. ‘C.J. is a smart player,’ Boeheim said. ‘He does get in the right places, and he is a good finisher. A good rebounder. I thought he played well.’ Although Fair shared the court most of the night with what could be his main competition for playing time in Boeheim’s rotation — sophomore forwards Mookie Jones and James Southerland — Fair was the showstopper. All because of two things. First, his solid, mature body for a freshman — one Jardine described as more of an upperclassman’s than a freshman’s. And because of those smarts. To junior forward Kris Joseph, the intelligence Fair brings to the team and Boeheim is cognizant of what was most apparent on the spin dribble. ‘That is not something he works on every day,’ Joseph said of Fair’s play. ‘That is something that is just instinct in the game. He knew he had a smaller guy on him, and he spun baseline and had the height advantage and went up with the ball. ‘(Fair is a) smart player. Very smart player. His IQ is very high.’ Sitting in the SU locker room postgame, Fair hinted at that intelligence. It was intelligence that he had accrued thanks to studying a specific play from a specific player in practice. That player — Jones — also happened to be his competition. The breakdown: Every time Jones shoots the ball, Fair knows he misses soft off the rim. It is a good opportunity to crash the boards. In his debut, Fair didn’t put back a Jones-missed 3-pointer with a dunk — Southerland did. It was just another example of the competition that is sure to be there for minutes come the regular season. But Fair did put back his share of dunks off SU misses. After one game, the smarts for the pretty player appear to be there. And after one game that was just an exhibition, he has the head start in a competition that Fair doesn’t even feel exists. ‘It is no competition between us,’ Fair said. ‘I am just out here to play my game and whatever coach needs at the time he needs, and I’ll just be waiting for him to call my number.’ [email protected] Published on November 1, 2010 at 12:00 pm Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Commentslast_img

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