Syracuse Basketball: C.J. Fair Is The Next Josh Pace

Mike MuellerContributor IIFebruary 15, 2011

LOUISVILLE, KY - FEBRUARY 12: C.J. Fair #5 of the Syracuse Orange defends Mike Marra #33 of the Louisville Cardinals during the Big East Conference game at the KFC Yum! Center on February 12, 2011 in Louisville, Kentucky.  Louisville won 73-69.  (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
Andy Lyons/Getty Images

The Fab Melo experiment may not have worked out this season for Syracuse, but that doesn’t mean this freshman class is a bust.

Baye Keita is giving the Orange quality minutes inside and Dion Waiters, although selfish at times with the ball, seems to be a solid guard.

Both players are slowly gaining recognition, but the one guy everyone should fall in love with is Josh Pace—I mean, C.J. Fair.

Call him Pace 2.0.

Fair does all the little things that don’t show up in the box score—just like Mr. Pace.

He is a great slasher, a solid rebounder, has good touch around the rim, and makes every single hustle play.

Fair has doubled his playing time over the last three games and is averaging 10 points and almost six boards in less than 33 minutes of action. He has a nose for the ball and seems to come up with every loose ball for the Orange.

Remind you of anybody?

Josh Pace was a key component to Syracuse’s title run in 2003 but garnered very little recognition. He was a good ball handler for his size, had a great short game from 10-feet in and also came up with countless hustle plays.

Fair and Pace are not flashy but they are vital to the success of Syracuse basketball. Their contributions to the team seem identical, although it looks like Fair has the potential to be more of an explosive scorer.

Both guys are similar in size (Fair is 6'7", 200 lbs and Pace 6'6", 190 lbs), wear the same number (5), and are horrific free throw shooters. Pace, who had one of the worst shots in college basketball history, shot 51 percent for his career; Fair is at 55.

Fair’s shot will improve and so will his stats throughout his career—just like Pace.

Pace won a national title his sophomore season with a highly touted freshman (some guy named Carmelo Anthony) leading the way.

Maybe Fair can follow suit with Rakeem Christmas coming in next season.

Just something to think about.