Saturday, December 5, 2009

Early Look: Fairfield Off to Fast Start

This is the second in the series of early looks at the 10 MAAC teams. Up now is ...

FAIRFIELD (1-0, 5-2)

The Stags are off to a good start and, typically, surprising the doubters by having success without two of its expected starters. Guard Warren Edney is out for the season (ankle surgery) and forward Greg Nero remains out (no return set) with sinus problems.

But help has come in the form of freshman point guard Derek Needham who, right now, looks like the conference's top first-year player. Needham is averaging 16.3 points and 4.9 assists per game, both totals third best of all conference players who have appeared in at least 75 percent of their team's games.

Forward Yorel Hawkins has also stepped up in a big way. His 17.5 points per game average (he has played in four of the Stags' seven games this far) would rank him third in the conference in scoring had he played the required minimum contests.

Forward Anthony Johnson has also made a productive return after missing most of last season with blod clot issues. His 8.7 rebound-per-game average is third in the conference.

Insight: As it has in the past, Fairfield continues to exceed expectations. If Nero, an all-league caliber inside player, comes back soon the Stags will be even better and deeper. It's not hard to envision Fairfield finishing in the upper half of the conference standings.

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