Before the college basketball season began, Syracuse Orange senior forward C.J. Fair was named ACC Preseason Player of the Year, and just two games into the season, Fair is already dominating opponents and putting forth an effort that could make him ACC Player of the Year after the season, as well, most recently leading the Orange to a blowout win over Fordham Tuesday night.
Syracuse head coach Jim Boeheim actually proclaimed that Fair had an off night in the season opener against Cornell, suggesting that Fair was forcing the issue, as he committed seven turnovers. But despite the constructive criticism, Fair finished the game with 19 points, getting his season off to a fast start.
Against Fordham, Fair started fast and dominated the first few minutes of the game, showcasing his outstanding mid-range game, and making tough shots look easy. Fair was able to avoid some of the turnovers he committed in the first game of the season by showing more patience, much like he has through the first three years of his career. As a result, Fair ended up scoring a career-high 26 points, many coming late to help Syracuse put the game away.
The difference for Fair this year has been that he’s getting more opportunities. In the past, Fair was forced to create his own scoring opportunities off of rebounds, loose balls and unsettled situations. This year, Syracuse is making it a point to get Fair the ball, and he’s taking advantage of that by scoring in a multitude of ways. Not only has Fair continued to score with his exceptional mid-range game, but he has been more willing to shoot from the perimeter, which has made him a more dangerous and more dominant player.
Syracuse will need its other players, including its four sophomores, to play well in support of Fair if they’re going to remain a top-10 caliber team. But it’s been reassuring to have Fair get off to a fast start and become a dominating player who’s living up to the billing of the ACC’s preseason player of the year.
Bryan Zarpentine is a New York Mets writer at RantSports.com. He also writes frequently about the NFL, College Football, College Basketball, and International Soccer. Like him on Facebook, follow him on twitter @BZarp and add him on Google.