Syracuse basketball fans can breathe a little easier. C.J. Fair will be back in orange and white next season.
On the Syracuse Athletics website Tuesday afternoon, the university announced that Fair will return to school for his senior season. The 6'8" forward from Baltimore, Maryland was considering leaving early to enter the NBA Draft, and had until Sunday to make his decision.
"After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I decided another year at Syracuse was best for me," said Fair in a written statement. "I'm excited about working hard with my teammates to put together another great season and graduating has also been a goal of mine."
Fair was named second team all-Big East in 2013 after averaging 14.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game, both team highs. He was also named to the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament Team as SU advanced to their fourth Final Four under coach Jim Boeheim.
"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."
SU will join the Atlantic Coast Conference for the 2013-14 basketball season. A list of home and road opponents was announced by the conference on Tuesday.
Below is the release from SU Athletics:
Junior forward C.J. Fair has announced his intention to return to Syracuse for his senior year with the men's basketball team. The second-team All-BIG EAST Conference performer considered entering his name in the 2013 NBA Draft but decided to come back to SU for his fourth year of eligibility and to complete his degree work.
"After talking it over with my family and my coaches, I decided another year at Syracuse was best for me," said Fair. "I'm excited about working hard with my teammates to put together another great season and graduating has also been a goal of mine."
â??C.J. Fair is a great character student-athlete who is on track to graduate, and obviously a tremendous player,â?? said Syracuse director of athletics Dr. Daryl Gross. â??We are confident his continued progress will allow him to become the nationâ??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.â??
"This is great news for our basketball program and for C.J.," said Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim. "I believe he's just going to keep getting better and better as a basketball player and earning his degree is important."
Fair led Syracuse in scoring (14.5) and rebounding (7.0) averages this past season. The Orange were 30-10 and advanced to the Final Four before ending its season in a loss to Michigan, 61-56. He averaged 15.4 points per game in five NCAA Tournament contests. Fair was named to the NCAA East Regional All-Tournament Team.
Fair started all 40 games for SU and during the campaign became the 58th player in school history to surpass 1,000 career points. He scored in double figures 32 times as a junior.
He was the BIG EAST Conference Player of the Week once and earned a spot on the league's weekly honor roll twice in 2012-13. In addition to the all-league recognition he received, Fair was received second team NABC All-District 5 laurels.
Fair is on track to graduate with his class, the Class of â??14, next spring.
Syracuse is scheduled to join the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) on July 1, 2013.