Due to some inclement weather and conflicting schedules, this week’s chat with Fairfield University men’s basketball coach Sydney Johnson was done by phone.
Johnson, who was hitting the road to recruit Tuesday while the team had a rare day off, and the Stags (12-10, 4-6 MAAC) have two straight going into Friday’s home game with Rider at the Webster Bank Arena. Tip off is 7 p.m.
Among our topics this week are, why the Stags are playing better after a five-game skid, the inserting Dez Wade and Josip Mikulic back into the starting line up and the health of freshman Justin Jenkins. Johnson also talks about winning his 100th game as a head coach.
It only took 22 hours to make it official for the Trumbull resident. The Tri-State Chevy dealers, who sponsor the promotion, awarded him a 2013 Cruze without waiting for official approval from their insurance company.
“It was the right thing to do,” said Leo Karl, the president of Karl Chevy in New Canaan.
After Queenan made the shot the crowd of 1,990 at the WBA erupted, but afterwards there was a debate about whether he had crossed the half-court line before taking the shot.
After the game, Fairfield University officials said the shot had to be reviewed before the prize was given. Meanwhile, news of Queenan’s shot went crazy on Twitter along with reports he might not receive the car.
The shot heard round Webster Bank Arena Monday night might or might not have counted.
At least that was the dilemma for Fairfield University and Tri-state Chevy dealerships, who sponsor the promotion, to sort out Tuesday after Trumbull resident John Queenan hit a half-court shot to win a car at halftime of a men’s basketball game.
Fairfield associate athletic director Roy Brown said Tuesday morning by email that “the Chevy dealership is still waiting for a response from the insurance company” about whether the basket counted. Brown said he still did not have an answer on the car last Tuesday afternoon.
Apparently, there was some concern the fan’s foot was on the line when he made the shot, which was video taped. Chevy officials, according to a Fairfield University employee on Monday, had to review the tape before a decision was made, but now an insurance company is involved as well.
The shot, which appeared to be good, initially drew a loud roar from the crowd of 1,990 fans who turned our for the Stags’ game against Loyola, Md. But afterwards, it set off a Twitter frenzy about whether it counted or not.
Coach Sydney Johnson has maintained since the start of the season that he has five good freshmen on his Fairfield basketball team.
With three senior teammates in the backcourt, first-year guard Justin Jenkins has not always been able to get on the floor to show what he can do. But the 6-foot-2 Bronx native flashed his potential last Sunday in a 67-64 loss tom Niagara at the Webster Bank Arena.
The Stags (10-8, 2-4 MAAC), who play at 9 tonight at Iona, have been struggling on offense and Jenkins came off the bench to score a career-high 16 points in 28 minutes.
“We are not converting right now, offensively we are not playing as well as I’d like to and I know that kid wants to score,” Johnson said. “That’s why he played. Point blank.”
Prior to Sunday’s game, Jenkins played a combined 29 minutes in the previous five games, but you won’t find the freshmen complaining about his lack of minutes.
“I just feel comfortable with this team,” he said. “In practice, I just got to go hard against the three seniors (Derek Needham, Dez Wade and Colin Nickerson) and they help me get better every day. Most of the time I work on my own, so when my time comes, I’ll be ready.”
The rigors of conference play are nothing new for Jenkins, who is used to getting banged around on the court.
“I grew up in the Bronx and used to play in the park,“ he said. “my older friends would always push me, so I know when to push back and play tough.”
With the MAAC’s top scoring backcourt on the floor tonight in Iona’s Momo Jones and Sean Armand – who average 40.9 points per game – Jenkins and the Stags will have their hands full tonight.
For the second straight season, the Fairfield Stags have hit a lull in early January with a three-game losing streak in MAAC play. However, second-year coach Sydney Johnson said this is a much different team.
The Stags’ skid is one of the topics we address in this week’s Sit down with Sydney. Also on the agenda, a discussion about upcoming games with Iona and Loyola, how important the three senior guards are to this team and the experience Sunday with the Newtown community turning out for last Sunday’s game at Webster Bank Arena.
(Due to a recording error, the interview is broken into two parts once again)
Met up with Fairfield men’s basketball coach Sydney Johnson after the Stags practice Monday afternoon for this week’s installment of Sit Down with Sydney.
Monday was the first day that Pitt transfer Malcolm Gilbert practiced with the team and the 6-foot-11 center broke a good sweat working out/sprinting with his new teammates. Johnson addresses Gilbert’s first practice in our conversation.
This week’s chat also goes over the team’s 1-1 road trip to western New York, which included an end to Fairfield’s six-game win streak with a loss at Niagara. Other topics include the team’s dominating defense, upcoming games with Loyola and Niagara, and Mo Barrow’s performance at Canisius.