Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Men's Recruiting: Fairfield's Group Strong

Here's the lastest in the series looking at players joining conference programs for the coming season.

Up now ...


- Rakim Sanders, 6-5 senior forward, transfer from Boston College.

Sanders played three years for the Eagles, averaging 11.3 points (freshman year), 12.9 (sophomore) and 11.3 as a junior. He is already a 1,000-point career scorer (1,043 points). He averaged a career-high 4.4 rebounds per game as a soph. Sanders joined Fairfield last season and, as per transfer rules, was able to practice but not play. He has one year of eligibility remaining.

- Desmond Wade, 5-8 point junior point guard, transfer from University of Houston.

Wade played two seasons at Houston and had more than 100 assists in both, becoming just the third player in school history with back-to-back 100-assist seasons. As a sophomore in 2009-10 he averaged 5.7 points and 4.8 assists. He had 167 total assists against just 62 turnovers. Like Sanders he joined Fairfield last year and practiced with the Stags. He has two years of eligibility remaining.

- Adam Jones, 6-8 forward, St. Thomas More Prep School.

Jones averaged 15 points and 10 rebounds this past season at St. Thomas More Prep School.

Jones has one of the most-interesting life stories of any player in college basketball, living with an uncle in Ocala, Fla., since fifth grade because his mother didn't have the financial means to support him. When Jones was 15, though, the uncle's health and financial problems did not allow him to continue to support Jones. The youngster, though, had developed a friendship with Austin Rivers, the son of Boston Celtics' coach Doc Rivers, who eventually became Jones' legal guardian.

- Vincent Van Nes, 7-foot-0, 235-pound center, Northfield (Mass.) Mount Herman School.

Van Nes, a native of Dorcester, England, was at Mount Hermon for two years, but only played two games last season before suffering a foot injury that required surgery in January. Prior to the injury Van Nes had drawn some interest from programs from higher levels. After the injury, though, scholarship offers only came from mid-maor level programs.

- Kevin Thomas, 6-8 forward, St. Mary's Ryken H.S., Md.

Thomas averaged 8.9 points per game last season. He is originally from Toronto.

ANALYSIS: There's no questioning the talent Fairfield has imported from higher-profile programs in Sanders and Wade as both have had considerable success elsewhere against better competition than they'll see in the MAAC. The only question is how quickly they can fit in, whether team chemistry can be established since not only are the two transfers likely to step into the starting lineup, but head coach Sydney Johnson is in his first year at Fairfield. The team, though, got the benefit of playing four games in Italy this month. Sanders was terrific, scoring 70 points in the first three games. If the playing rotation remains the same as on the overseas trip, then Wade will start at point guard and junior Derek Needham will move off the ball. Van Nes looks like a nice project who will back up 7-0 senior center Ryan Olander for the coming season and, potentially, replace the current Stags' big man. Jones and Thomas are both intriguing projects primarily due to their solid 6-8 frames. Thomas played in tough D.C. area competition. Jones has a remarkable life story, one in which he has succeeded thus far in the face of strong adversity. It's not likely anyone will work any harder than he will. Bottom line is that if team chemistry develops the Stags will be strong again as Sanders and Wade move into the starting five. The traditional freshmen (Van Nes, Jones and Thomas) give the program's front-court much promise for the future.

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