In the latest edition of a multi-part series, editorial staff of The Juice Online discuss various topics on Syracuse basketball. Today’s topic: CJ Fair is exploring leaving for the NBA Draft. Should he do it?
The Post-Standard reported Thursday that CJ Fair is going to get an assessment of his skills to see where he’d land in this year’s NBA Draft. While this is a preliminary step, Syracuse has seen a mass exodus of underclassmen in the last few years (Dion Waiters, Fab Melo, Jonny Flynn, Donte Greene to name a few), so no one would be floored if Fair decided to leave. With that in mind, The Juice Online’s Nate Federman and Wesley Cheng took each side of the issue.
Nate Federman, The case for staying: I think it would be a huge mistake for him to declare for the draft. He’s too small to play the four and not quick enough to play the three, not to mention his inability to handle the ball and get off his shot quickly. And while I think his game may develop at the same rate (or perhaps even quicker) playing basketball full-time, he’ll get significantly more exposure polishing his game in the college ranks. I don’t know that he’ll ever be an NBA player, but if he comes back next year with a quicker release and an ability to beat guys off the dribble, he could be one of the best players in the ACC. Fair being a dominant college player is a much more likely scenario for him to end up playing in the NBA.
Wesley Cheng, The case for leaving: Few players have been more consistent and reliable than CJ Fair was for Syracuse this year. He led a team that went to the Final Four in points (14.5) and rebounds (7.0), and statistically was their best outside shooter (47 3pt%). He was also SU’s best player in its biggest game of the year. Though Syracuse lost to Michigan in the national semifinals, it was through no fault of Fair. He was spectacular, and the Orange’s only offensive threat in the game, leading the way with 22 points and 6 rebounds. For all of you out there who haven’t seen Fair’s name on any mock drafts, consider that conventional wisdom has Fair returning for his senior season, and mock draft boards haven’t adjusted yet. According to one writer, Fair’s a top 10 pick, so I don’t think it’s completely out of the question that Fair could leave.