CJ Fair is the type of player every team needs. He’s consistent, versatile, talented, and always prepared to fill in whatever role he’s needed. He’s quietly having a great season, averaging 11.5 points per game and 6.5 rebounds, both important contributions.
Tonight was no exception for Fair has he registered his second double-double of the season. He scored 16 points and 13 rebounds, hitting on 6-of-10 from the field.
“CJ was really good … he was the best he’s played all year,” Coach Boeheim said after the game. “He was really on the boards aggressively and I thought he did a really good job.”
Fair got off to a quick start, scoring the Orange’s first four points of the game.
“Today, I felt my rhythm early,” Fair said. “I got up on the offensive and defensive glass and a couple balls fell my way and I was able to get there.”
Fair also said he hadn’t felt in a real rhythm since the San Diego State game, when he scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. He’s been having trouble getting into the flow of the game because in blowouts, which are typical for this time of year, he doesn’t get the types of minutes he would get in a normal game.
But he has developed a strategy for getting into the swing of the game, even when the shots aren’t falling.
“I try to go the foul line as much as possible,” he said. “So if you don’t get into a rhythm early, that’s something I focus in on … getting to the foul line to get me going.”
The points have been great for the Orange, but the rebounds have been a more valuable asset for the team. It isn’t Christmas or Coleman leading the team in rebounds, it’s Fair. Though he credits the two big men with the majority of his boards.
“I just went at the rim,” Fair said. “When you have Dajuan and Rakeem down low boxing out and their big bodies, it makes it easier to get in and sneak rebounds out.”
Coleman also appreciates Fair’s effort on the glass. He said when three or four guys crash the boards; it gives the Orange a pretty good chance of coming down with it.
“Every time the ball goes up, we all just crash the boards,” Coleman said. “CJ did a good job on the offensive boards tonight.”
The 2-3 zone leaves room inside for opposing teams to grab rebounds, which is why the Orange don’t always fair well. But Fair hitting the glass as aggressively as he has been so far this season will give the team in advantage when it hits Big East play.