Fairfield junior Keith Matthews returns off a solid postseason performance last year with the Stags where he averaged 8.8 points and almost four rebounds over a seven-game stretch.
The 6-foot-5 forward along with fellow junior Maurice Barrow are the only veteran players upfront for the Stags going into the season. Fairfield tips off at 8 p.m. Saturday against Central Connecticut State in the Connecticut 6 at the University of Hartford.
On having other players, especially the veterans, step up to help guard Derek Needham while the freshmen develop:
“We don’t want all the pressure on Derek even though he’s a preseason (All-MAAC) player. We want to take the pressure off him so guys like myself, Mo (Barrow), Dez (Wade), Colin (Nickerson) and everyone else just have to take the pressure off him.
“We need to play together, do our part, play well and we’ll be all right.”
On season expectations:
“This season we are not going to be picked preseason number one or number two, so we are playing with a chip on our shoulders. We need to show everyone who we are and kind of prove ourselves to everyone again that we belong on top.”