One year ago, C.J. Fair packed his bags and left Baltimore behind for a year of prep school at Brewster (N.H.) Academy.
The 6-foot-7 forward bypassed a chance to spend his senior year playing for City’s Class 2A title team so that he could better prepare for his college future at Syracuse. In hindsight, Fair thinks he made the right decision.
“[Leaving home] makes you mature early at a young age, so you learn how to build on your own,” Fair said Saturday at the Bmorehoops.com 6th Anniversary Celebration at The Dome in East Baltimore. “But coming from home and Brewster to Syracuse, it’s a big jump. But Brewster prepared me to go to Syracuse.”
Fair teamed with former Lake Clifton shooting guard Will Barton at Brewster last season, guiding the Bobcats to the 2010 National Prep Championship. Fair, a Baltimore Sun first-team All-Metro selection as a sophomore, was picked for the New England Preparatory School Athletic Conference Class A second team.“At Brewster, it was a great experience going up there,” said Fair, who averaged about 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Bobcats. “I didn’t know anybody besides Will, but making new friends and new opportunities, it turned out good. It was one of the best experiences I’ve had so far.”
At Brewster, Fair teamed with guys headed to Memphis, Rutgers, Minnesota and Iowa State, among others, while battling several future high-major players on a regular basis. The high level of competition in the NEPSAC is something Fair believes will serve him well in the Big East.
“As far as Syracuse, they normally play seven or eight guys a game,” Fair said. “As long as I’m in the rotation, I’ll be good. And I already know I’ll be in the rotation. I’m not going to start this year because we have a lot of veterans there, but I’m just going to come off the bench and help the team as much as I can.”
Fair spent six weeks this summer on Syracuse’s campus, taking classes, working out and getting acclimated to college life. His trip back to Baltimore was a welcome one, but now Fair’s looking forward to settling in at his new basketball-crazed residence.
“The atmosphere up there, they look at us like celebrities because we’re basically the pro team up there,” Fair said. “They don’t have a professional team, so we’re the next best thing.”