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Fairfield 2010 College Insider Tournament Preview

 

Fairfield Stags - Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (22-10, 13-5)

Big Wins: 2/12 at Rider (79-75), 2/26 Iona (71-54), 3/7 vs Niagara (69-63)

Bad Losses: 11/30 at Hofstra (80-84), 1/4 at Niagara (68-77), 1/30 Rider (80-88)

Coach: Ed Cooley



Probable Fairfield Starters:

  • Derek Needham, Freshman, Guard, 16.3 ppg, 5.2 apg, 1.8 spg

  • Sean Crawford, Sophomore, Guard, 4.9 ppg, 1.2 apg

  • Jamal Turner, Sophomore, Guard, 1.0 ppg, 1.8 rpg

  • Ryan Olander, Sophomore, Forward, 6.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.5 bpg

  • Anthony Johnson, Senior, Forward, 15.7 ppg, 9.9 rpg, 2.3 bpg

 

Key Fairfield Roleplayers:

  • Mike Evanovich, Senior, Forward, 6.9 ppg, 3.0 rpg, 2.0 apg

  • Shimeek Johnson, Sophomore, Forward, 2.4 ppg, 2.3 rpg

  • Lyndon Jordan, Junior, Guard, 5.0 ppg, 1.2 apg

  • Colin Nickerson, Freshman, Guard, 4.5 ppg, 1.1 apg

 

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Why The Stags Can Surprise:
Few would have expected that Anthony Johnson and Derek Needham would be the superstars on this team. Johnson struggled with injuries a year ago, but was a productive forward when he was in the game. For his senior season Johnson has been much more than simply productive; he has been a dominating force in the paint. The 6-8, Lake Wales, Florida product is a superb interior scorer and averages 15.7 points per game. But Johnson is also a beast on the glass and big time shot blocking threat. The only knock on his game would be his free-throw shooting, but down the stretch of the season he has improved greatly in that department as well.

Needham is even a bigger surprise. The 5-11 freshman is a superb scorer from anywhere on the floor. He may take a few too many long balls, but he is certainly a capable outside shooter. Needham is also the point guard and dishes out 5.2 assists per game. His turnover numbers are a little high, but that is not too surprising for a freshman. As long as he continues to score and set up his teammates, the Stags can live with a few turnovers here and there.

 

Why The Stags Can Disappoint:
It was supposed to be Greg Nero, Warren Edney and Yorel Hawkins who led this team towards the top of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference standings. Only Hawkins played any games this season and he only appeared in 19 games before being sidelined with another injury. That has left this team relatively young and inexperienced. Needham has certainly stepped up, but so have Sean Crawford, Jamal Turner and Colin Nickerson. All three of those underclassmen have earned a handful of starts during the season, but it has been Crawford who has proven to be the most dynamic and explosive scorer when given the opportunity. Yet, Turner is the most experienced of the bunch after playing a role off the bench last year and Nickerson is playing his best basketball late in the year. Yet, no matter how well they have played, they comprise a very young and inexperienced backcourt and that is always dangerous in March.

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Who To Watch for Fairfield:
Johnson is not the only player in the frontcourt. Ryan Olander and Shimeek Johnson have both earned some starts throughout the season. Olander is the best interior scorer of the group, but it is Mike Evanovich who is the player who can change a game. Despite not being a starter, Evanovich is the best scorer on the team besides Needham and Anthony Johnson. Evanovich will use his 6-8 frame to shoot over just about any defender and he is easily Fairfield’s best long range shooter.

 

Fairfield By the Numbers:

Scoring Offense: 70.7 (127th in nation, 3rd in conference)

Scoring Defense: 66.0 (112, 4)

Field-Goal Percentage: 43.3 (187, 2)

Field-Goal Defense: 42.1 (114, 6)

Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 6.1 (178, 6)

Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 33.9 (174, 4)

Free-Throw Percentage: 69.2 (159, 3)

Rebound Margin: 1.7 (128, 3)

Assists Per Game: 13.9 (107, 2)

Turnovers Per Game: 13.5 (153, 5)

 

 

By Joel Welser
CollegeSports-fans.com Senior Basketball Writer

 

> Find more 2010 CollegeInsider.com Tournament coverage online from College Sports Fans and print your NCAA Tournament brackets today!

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