Having already lost starting point guard Michael Carter-Williams (leaving school for the NBA Draft), shooting guard Brandon Triche and small forward James Southerland (both out of eligibility), the Syracuse Orange were anxious to hear the plans of junior forward C.J. Fair.
After averaging 14.5 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Orange this season, there was the feeling in some circles that the Baltimore native would forego his final year of eligibility.
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“After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I decided another year at Syracuse was best for me,” Fair said in the release. “I’m excited about working hard with my teammates to put together another great season and graduating has also been a goal of mine.”
Had Fair decided to leave school early head coach Jim Boeheim would have to go about replacing four starters from a team that reached the Final Four in 2012-13.
“This is great news for our basketball program and for C.J.,” said Boeheim. “I believe he’s just going to keep getting better and better as a basketball player and earning his degree is important.”
Fair’s return gives the Orange not only an experienced leader to help shepherd the likes of freshmen Tyler Ennis (who will likely be the starting point guard), Ron Patterson and Tyler Roberson, but also a player who should factor into the preseason ACC Player of the Year conversation.
And with an eye towards the professional ranks there are still areas in which Fair needs to improve, as Mike Waters of the Syracuse Post-Standard noted that NBA scouts would like to see Fair “become less dependent on his left hand when driving to the basket and increase the speed of the release on his jump shot.”
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) South Carolina freshman guard Rakym Felder was arrested Sunday and charged with several counts, including assault, resisting arrest and public disorderly conduct.
Felder, a 6-foot-1 shooting guard from New York, is being held at Alvin S. Glenn Detention Center in Richland County, according to the facility’s website.
A team spokeswoman said coach Frank Martin was aware of Felder’s arrest and was gathering more information. Per South Carolina athletic department policy, Felder is suspended indefinitely.
Felder was charged by the Columbia police with simple assault and battery, resisting arrest, public disorderly conduct, failure to stop on police command, a pedestrian on a controlled access highway and use of another’s or altered license or identification card.
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The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 10.3 points per game, while shooting 42 percent from three, as a freshman. He, along with Malcolm Hill and Michael Thorne Jr., is one of three returning players who averaged double figures last season.
This could prove to be a make-or-break year for John Groce, who enters his fifth season at the helm. He guided the Illini to an NCAA Tournament in his first season, but hasn’t been back since.
The key for the Illini is health. Abrams gives them experience and leadership, but it won’t be a surprise if there’s some rust in his game after spending the past two seasons on the sideline. Having a healthy Coleman-Lands will help stabilize the backcourt, while Hill, an all-conference caliber forward, and Thorne anchor the frontcourt.
Like Alkins, Jones was a sought-after scorer. The 6-foot-4 two-guard was rated No. 69 overall in the Class of 2016 by Rivals. He picked Indiana over offers from Cal, Cincinnati, Georgetown and more than a dozen other high-major programs.