With the basketball season upon us, its time we meet the newest members of the Stags team. Jamel Fields, Maurice Barrow, and Keith Matthews are the incoming Freshmen who will look to help the Stags live up to all the preseason hype, and all have received some hype of their own.
Matthews, a 6’5 forward, played high school basketball at Sebastian River High School, in Sebastian, Florida.
A McDonald’s All-American, he scored over 1800 points in his high school career, in which he started all four years.
Matthews almost averaged a double-double per game during his senior year, scoring 19.3 points and 8.6 rebounds.
He was ranked among the top twenty players in all of Florida, and is used to success: he led his high school team to two consecutive district titles. Expect that winning mentality to carry over here at Fairfield.
Matthews is not the only one who comes to Fairfield with a winning reputation. Maurice Barrow, or Mo, is fresh off a championship of his own, in which he won Most Valuable Player honors, scoring 24 points and grabbing 13 boards.
The 6’5 guard from Hollis, New York averaged 12.4 points and 6.5 rebounds per game his senior year at Christ the King High School in Queens.
After Majok Majok, the 6’8 power forward, failed to meet eligibility, Barrow became the top recruit coming to Fairfield this fall.
Mo was also considering offers to play for Arkansas, South Carolina, Hofstra, and Fordham. Expect to see Mo on the floor this season, gaining some valuable minutes.
Joining Matthews and Barrow is 6’1 guard Jamel Fields. A graduate of Cheshire Academy in Connecticut, Fields is originally from Albany, where he averaged more than 20 points per game at Albany Academy, eclipsing the twenty point mark 13 times his junior year.
His senior year at Cheshire Academy showed his talent from long-range, hitting 39 three pointers, and helping him score 498 total points for the season last year.
Despite having offers from rival schools such as Siena and Marist (as well as James Madison and Albany), Fields says he came here for the “team effort”.
He says, “ Everyone here has had personal accomplishments and knows they are good, but the fact that they put the team first is what really got me”.
The freshmen know their role for now, as the main goal is to improve their game, so they can step up when called on during a game.
“You think you’re good when you get here,” says Fields, “But when you’re around [the more experienced players], you pick up on your mistakes quickly. [The upperclassmen] have helped a lot.”
One key component of this season is listening. “Just listening to the coaches and other players, has helped me improve from when I first got here,” says Barrow.
The common thought is that freshmen never get any playing time, and that their performance in practice will determine whether or not they play more in the future.
This may or may not be the case for these three. Coach Cooley has said in the past that they will get the “opportunity to walk in and get significant minutes and play right away.”
Along with the freshmen, Coach Cooley has two new transfers this season.
Desmond Wade, a junior transferring from Houston, had back-to-back 100 assist seasons and averaged 4.8 assists last year.
He also brings NCAA tournament experience to the team, as Houston went as the 13th seed last year.
Another transfer, 6’5 Rakim Sanders, averaged 11.3 points per game last year as a junior for Boston College.
Neither player will see court time this year due to NCAA transfer regulations, but are eligible to play in the 2011-2012 season.