While incoming freshmen often find it tough deciding where to spend their college years, in the case of several freshmen on the Fairfield Men’s Basketball team the decision was made somewhat easier. All of these young men chose Fairfield because of the good vibes they got from the coaches and the players.

“I just really liked Coach Sydney Johnson, the way he’s a really down-to-Earth guy,” Tyler Nelson ’18 said. “I like the way he coaches the offense and stuff like that.”

The same went for Kevin Degnan ’18, when he said, “[It’s] definitely the coaches; they’re a great group of guys, they push me hard, the same as Coach Johnson.” He went on to compliment the Fairfield campus and community, saying, “[It’s] also the school; it’s a good atmosphere, a great mix between academics and basketball, and I saw the perfect fit for me.”

Freshman Jared Harper also explained that it was his respect for the coaches that lured him to the Stags, and the fact he felt at home. “When I was in prep school last year and getting recruited by different schools, Fairfield just caught my eye the most because I got really close to the coaches,” he said. “I talked to them almost every day, and when I came to visit, I really liked the campus, and it just felt like home.”

Freshman Jerome Segura concurred, saying, “When I came here on my visit, I really liked the coaches, the players, and the campus, so I ended up deciding on here.”

Similarly to the way they all felt welcomed at the school by the coaches, these freshmen also felt integrated into the team immediately.

“I think the guys were really welcoming when we got here in the summer, and it was good chemistry right away,” Nelson said.

Harper added that the teammates were “all really good guys.” Regarding the team veterans, he said, “If I need any help, I can talk to them about anything.” With teammates and mentors, this is clearly a good atmosphere to be in as a freshman.

For Degnan, his excitement for the season to start is already underway as he explained that he wants to make his presence known as soon as possible.

“I think I can contribute pretty well, because whatever they need me to do, I can do,” he said.  “Whether it’s to rebound, play defense, make shots on the perimeter or play inside, I’ll do that for them.”

Segura is equally as eager, saying that he can’t wait to get into his role, which, according to Head Coach Johnson, is “to find people.”

Adjusting to a new life on a college campus can be tough, but fortunately, the freshmen seem to be enjoying themselves.

Harper explained that he enjoyed the campus and community, adding, “Everything is pretty much what I thought it would be.”

Degnan was equally as generous with his praise of Fairfield, saying, “Everybody has been great, [including] the teammates, the staff, the school. It’s been nothing but good so far.”

While the athletes easily discussed their transition into Fairfield, hazing became a much more difficult subject to touch on, as those involved often aren’t eager to broach the topic. This remained mostly true during interviews whenever the topic was raised, as most of the players played coy and gave noncommittal answers.

One player who did talk about it was Degnan, though he described it as nothing more than the freshmen doing most of the grunt work, which is a common practice on sports teams.

“Oh yeah, definitely,” Degnan said.  “Since I’m a freshman, I need to earn every little thing, whether it’s doing all the dirty work in the locker room, to bringing [the equipment] out onto the floor, it’s just part of the job.”


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