Transferring from one school to another is often very difficult by itself, but when
it is compounded by switching sports teams, things can get even harder. Fortunately for transfer students Demarcus Threatt ’16 and Mike Kirkland Jr. ’16, the transition has been very smooth.
Kirkland talked about his welcome to the team, saying, “I feel like family so far.” It would seem that he struck gold when searching for a welcoming new home, as he seems to be having a good time.
“I like the campus and I like my teachers so far; it’s a good environment,” Kirkland said.
Family. That is one word that stuck out to me from both players’ quotes, as it seemed to be very important to them. To Kirkland, it made all the difference in the
world, as it is what makes Fairfield basketball different from other programs in his eyes.
“We have a more family-oriented team, and we come together in tough times; I think that’s the difference between us and other teams,” he said.
Besides the family aspect to the team, it is clear that Head Coach Sydney Johnson’s program is one that the players are happy about, probably because of how they’re treated.
Kirkland was eager to fit into Johnson’s offensive schemes when he accepted his
spot at Fairfield.
During his visit, he “liked all of the players on the team … [and] liked the offense, it felt like it was a good fit.” This is as good a reason as any to be eager about playing for the Stags, as playing in a system that he wasn’t suited for could have been detrimental to Kirkland’s growth.
Kirkland is eager to show that he’s got what it takes to make the program better, and to do his part.
“I feel like I can definitely bring us to a better position than we were in last year,” Kirkland said. “I know we finished close to last, but that was last year, and I’m willing to do what it takes to bring it to the next level.”
Being a transfer player can make adjusting to a new team hard, but that hasn’t dampened Kirkland’s enthusiasm and desire to make a difference. He feels that he can make an impact immediately, and isn’t shy about it.
“Definitely, that’s one of my roles, to be an impact player right away, so I want to do that defensively and offensively,” Kirkland said.
According to Threatt, joining a new squad made him “feel very welcomed.” He
Regarding living on campus, Threatt said, “I love it; the atmosphere, how it’s like a big campus, but I feel like I see everybody and I feel like everybody’s a family here.”
Similarly to Kirkland, Threatt was very interested in the family aspect of the Stags. In Threatt’s case, it was one of the main reasons that he decided to attend Fairfield.
“When I talked to Coach Sydney Johnson, he said to me, ‘It’s a family,’ and they treated me like family on my visit, so I just wanted to come here,” he said.
Similar to Kirkland, Threatt wants to be as helpful as possible to his new teammates, and to give them the best chance to succeed. “[Coach] brought me here as a starter and a scorer to help out Marcus [Gilbert] ‘16, [Coleman] Johnson ‘16, and Mike [Kirkland Jr.],” Threatt said.
The two may have difficulty adjusting to attending school in New England, as Kirkland is from Florida and Threatt hails from Alabama. Threatt joked about this adjustment, saying, “The only thing that’s different is that, coming from Alabama in the south, it’s cold [up here].”
With Kirkland and Threatt, the Stags have definitely gained two transfers with potential.