2008-09 Fairfield Basketball Preview: #140
Overall Rank: #140
Conference Rank: #4 Metro Atlantic
2007-08: 14-16, 11-7, 5th
2007-08 postseason: none
Fairfield struggled early in the 2007-2008 campaign, but a seven game winning streak in February has the momentum moving in the right direction for Coach Ed Cooley and company. Jonathan Han is the team’s leader after averaging 11.7 points and 6.2 assists as a junior. Herbie Allen and defensive specialist Lyndon Jordan will join him in the backcourt. All three of those guards can handle the ball and it is always nice to have players like that.
Forwards Mamadou Diakhate, Geoff Middleton and Marty O’Sullivan did not see much action last season, but they were relatively big guys who could come in and grab some rebounds and occasionally score a few points. O’Sullivan is the biggest loss of the group and averaged 5.0 points and 3.3 rebounds during his senior campaign. Guard Devin Johnson has left the program after seeing his playing time diminish significantly during his sophomore season.
With seven players returning who started at least 14 games a year ago, the newcomers do not have to do much more than provide depth this year. Guards Jamal Turner and Sean Crawford might be the most important two. If Jordan fails to become anything more than a defensive specialist, Turner and Crawford will be the offensive spark coming off the bench. Shimeek Johnson and Rob Sisca could play that role too, but from the small forward spot. Sisca, a transfer from Vermont, is pretty much just a 6-5 sharpshooter from long range. If his game develops some more dynamics, Sisca could battle for more playing time, but at the moment he is likely to see most of his minutes when the Stags need another three-point specialist on the floor. Center Ryan Olander will provide some depth, but Brandon Davis should have the folks in Fairfield the most excited. Davis, who was once recruited by places like Clemson and Oklahoma State a couple years of ago, is expected to immediately add even another dimension to a deep frontcourt. The 6-8 power forward spent a little time at prep school where his recruiting dropped, but that should end up being great news for the Stags.
Who to Watch:
But even without Davis, this is a team with plenty of frontcourt weapons. Greg Nero started a majority of the games last season and can battle in the paint and step outside and hit the mid-range jumper. Mike Evanovich is a superb shooter from long range. At 6-9, he does a great job of stretching out the opposing defense. If his defense improves, it will be hard to keep Evanovich out of the starting lineup. Anthony Johnson is the best interior scorer and rebounder on the team and will pick up right where he left off. The 6-8 Lake Wales, Florida product averaged 9.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks as a sophomore. Now that he is an upperclassman, Johnson should take on more of a leadership role and collecting some double-doubles should not be a rare occasion.
This is a pretty experienced team, but there are still some youngsters who need to step up and play a bigger role, most notably wings Warren Edney and Yorel Hawkins. Edney improved just about every game during his freshman season and is expected to battle for a starting job with Hawkins. Hawkins had higher expectations than Edney, but his 6.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per contest were pretty much on level with Edney. If Hawkins can stay healthy, he could be the best player on the team and that is a scary thought for the rest of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Jonathan Han, Senior, Guard, 11.7 points per game
Herbie Allen, Senior, Guard, 8.8 points per game
Warren Edney, Sophomore, Forward, 6.4 points per game
Greg Nero, Junior, Forward, 8.3 points per game
Anthony Johnson, Junior, Forward, 9.6 points per game