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C.J. Fair Returns to Syracuse, Restores Faith in NBA Decision Process

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Sanity prevailed in C.J. Fair’s decision on whether to jump to the NBA.

“After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I decided another year at Syracuse was best for me. I’m excited about working hard with my teammates to put together another great season and graduating has also been a goal of mine.”

First off, this gives the Orange a major boost going into next season. The team would’ve been left woefully short of experience and go-to scoring options. But Fair’s return gives the squad a nice bridge from the Final Four edition to a locker room stuffed with transfers and incoming freshman.

Secondly, for Fair this is the prudent move. We discussed it at length here on The Fizz yesterday. With no guarantee to get drafted in the first-round (in fact, almost every pundit projected him to get picked in the second), the risk was just too high. You’re working without a guaranteed contract, and having to constantly fight roster cuts and unknown financial future. He would’ve sacrificed his eligibility essentially for the opportunity at summer league and a training camp tryout. His stock can only increase for the ’14 draft, and being a better basketball player can only help him stay in the NBA and earn more cash over the long term.

If you don’t need to help your family financially right away, it makes little sense to leave school and roll the dice on being a second-round pick. First-round projections have every monetary reason in the book to leave. The second-to-last pick of the first round last year, Marquis Teague, will make almost $4M over four years. Guaranteed. The first pick of the second-round? We’ll see if ya make the team, rook. 

Of course, Darryl Gross sees a marketing opportunity.

“C.J. Fair is a great character student-athlete who is on track to graduate, and obviously a tremendous player. We are confident his continued progress will allow him to become the nation’s top player and a viable candidate for the Naismith, Rupp, Wooden awards and other All-American honors. We look forward to him leading our team as we enter the ACC. We all feel that his senior season will be remarkable.”

Come to the Carrier Dome for Naismith Night, where headbands with a peach basket on them will be handed out to the first 10,000 fans!

Even Jim Boeheim realizes what his return means to SU.

“This is great news for our basketball program and for C.J. I believe he’s just going to keep getting better and better as a basketball player and earning his degree is important.”

C.J. is a smart kid. He was on the Big East’s honor roll twice last season. He’s on track to graduate in the spring, and has always had an intelligent, larger-perspective demeanor. Good to see that side of him won the debate on whether to return. It’ll be fun to watch him chase some of college’s more prestigious awards, and be the glue that a young team with high expectations needs. In a society of instant gratification, Fair has refreshingly taken the long-term view.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.

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