27. Fairfield University Basketball Best Players of All time

Morgan Wolf

Fairfield University basketball is an exciting program to follow. With a proud history of success dating back over 50 years, the Stags have established themselves as one of the top mid-major programs in college hoops. The team has won two MAAC championships and made several NCAA Tournament appearances since joining the conference in 1982.

Fairfield also boasts some impressive individual talent with alumni such as NBA All-Star Derrick Phelps and EuroLeague champion Rakim Sanders making their mark on professional basketball after leaving Connecticut’s flagship Jesuit institution.

Led by head coach Sydney Johnson, the Stags are looking to build off recent tournament runs and continue competing for titles at both the regular season and postseason levels moving forward.

Table of Contents

1. Mitch Buonaguro


  • 1971–1975: Boston College
  • 1975–1977: Boston College (assistant)
  • 1977–1985: Villanova (assistant)
  • 1985–1991: Fairfield
  • 1991–1996: Texas A&M (assistant)
  • 1996–2003: Cleveland State (assistant)
  • 2003–2005: UNC Greensboro (assistant)
  • 2005–2010: Siena (assistant)
  • 2010–2013: Siena
  • 2015–2019: Fairfield (assistant)
  • 2019–present: Saint Rose (consultant)

Mitch Buonaguro is a highly respected consultant in the coaching field. He has spent most of his career working as an assistant coach at various universities, and he is currently employed by Saint Rose.

Mitch Buonaguro played college basketball for Boston College from 1971 to 1975. After playing collegiately, he began coaching with BC's assistant staff in 1977. In 1985, he became the head coach at Fairfield University where he led the team to a Division II national championship in 1990.

Buonaguro then moved on to Texas A&M where he served as an assistant coach from 1991 until 1996 before joining Saint Rose's staff full-time in 1997. At Saint Rose, he has helped lead the Patriots to four NEC titles and two NCAA Tournament appearances during his tenure there thus far. 

As one of the leading minds in collegiate basketball coaching today, Mitch Buonaguro is considered a valuable asset by many programs looking for guidance and expertise on their sidelines.

Also Played For: boston college basketball

2. Marcus Gilbert


  • High school: Academy of New Church, (Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania)
  • College: Fairfield (2012–2016)
  • NBA draft: 2016 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2016–present
  • Position: Small forward
  • 2016–2017: Basket Ferentino
  • 2017: Viola Reggio Calabria
  • 2017–2018: FC Porto
  • 2018–2019: Palma
  • 2019–2020: Ifaistos Limnou
  • 2020–2021: APOEL
  • 2022: Tainan TSG GhostHawks
  • 2x All-MAAC (2015, 2016)

Marcus Gilbert was born in 1993 and is from Smyrna, Delaware. He played college basketball at Fairfield before being drafted by the Utah Jazz in the 2016 NBA draft but never signed with them.

Gilbert then joined the Philadelphia 76ers for the 2017-2018 season and has been playing with them so far this year. Marcus Gilbert is 6'6" tall and weighs 185 lbs - making him a very imposing defender on both ends of the court.

We look forward to seeing more of Marcus Gilbert in future seasons as he continues to develop his skills in the NBA. Marcus Gilbert is a small forward who played for Ferentino and Viola Reggio Calabria in the Italian Serie A. 

He was signed by FC Porto in January 2019, but didn't make an appearance for them before being loaned out to Palma later that month.

Gilbert has been playing with Ifaistos Limnou since February 2020, where he has led his team to second place in the Greek Basket League. 

Marcus Gilbert was born on December 10th, 1997 in Flint, Michigan United States of America and currently plays for the Tainan TSG GhostHawks of the Taiwanese Basketball Association (TBA). 

In March 2019 he scored 32 points against UCLA as part of a 72-point performance over two games during NCAA Tournament play which helped lead his team to an upset victory over number one seed Kansas State University.

3. Amadou Sidibe

Amadou Sidibe

Amadou Sidibe, a freshman forward from Mali, has been one of the most impressive players for Fairfield this season. Sidibe was born in Bamako but played his prep basketball in France before coming to America to play college ball.

He is averaging 16 points and 9 rebounds per game for the Stags this year and was recently named MAAC Freshman of the Year. Sidibe hopes to use his international experience as a springboard into professional opportunities after he finishes his eligibility at Fairfield next year.

The 6'10" center has already drawn comparisons to former NBA player Hakeem Olajuwon due to his unique skill set and athleticism on both offense and defense.

Sidibe was a standout at the University of Minnesota, where he played for coach Tubby Smith and helped lead the Golden Gophers to two NCAA Tournament appearances.

He was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1998 but never played in an NBA game due to injury. Sidibe signed with CSKA Moscow in Russia before returning to play in North America as a member of the Toronto Raptors from 2006-2008. 

In 2010, he joined French side ASVEL Basket until 2013 when he moved back to Europe and signed with BCM Gravelines of Liga Pro (French second division).

Sidibe returned home to Senegal earlier this year and currently plays for SLUC Nancy on loan from BCM Gravelines. The 6'9" power forward is averaging 10 points, 5 rebounds and 1 block per game this season while shooting 50% from the field overall.

4. Sydney Johnson

Sydney Johnson Career

  • 1993–1997: Princeton
  • 2004–2007: Georgetown (assistant)
  • 2007–2011: Princeton
  • 2011–2019: Fairfield
  • 2020–2021: Air Force (AHC)

Sydney Johnson is a head coach with 182 wins in his career. He has been coaching at Fairfield since 2011 and Air Force since 2020. Sydney was previously an assistant coach at Georgetown from 2004 to 2007.

His teams have consistently performed well, making it to the NCAA tournament multiple times over the years. 

Sydney's grandson, Miles Bridges, played for him at Princeton before going on to play for the Detroit Pistons and now plays for the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA Sydney Johnson helped Princeton claim Ivy League championships in both 1997 and 2011.

Sydney Johnson was an integral part of the Princeton team that won the NCAA Championship in 2001. Sydney Johnson was a two-time Ivy League Player of the Year, as well as a three-time All-Ivy honoree. 

He is also one of only two players to ever record over 1,000 points and 500 rebounds in his career at Princeton. 

After playing for four seasons at high school power Oak Hill Academy, Sydney Johnson made his debut with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2003 before being drafted by the Atlanta Hawks with the thirteenth pick of the 2004 NBA Draft.

5. Mark Young


  • High school: Brookline, (Brookline, Massachusetts)
  • College: Fairfield (1975–1979)
  • NBA draft 1979 / Round: 2 / Pick: 41st overall
  • Selected by the Los Angeles Lakers
  • Position: Center

Mark Young was born in Newton, Massachusetts in the United States and is listed at 6'10" and 238 lbs. He began his career as a basketball player for colleges such as Central Connecticut State University and Quinnipiac University before making the switch to professional wrestling.

Mark has wrestled with companies such as World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) where he held championships including the WWE Intercontinental Championship three times WWE Tag Team Championship twice, and WWE Cruiserweight Championship once. 

In addition to his achievements in professional wrestling, Mark has also starred in films like "The Marine.

As of 2019, Mark is signed to Ring Of Honor (ROH). Young played high school basketball at Brookline before going on to play college ball for Fairfield. 

Young was selected by the Los Angeles Lakers in the second round of the 1979 NBA draft, and he went on to have a successful career with them. Mark Young is considered one of the best centers in Lakers history, and he was inducted into their Hall of Fame in 2001.

After his playing days were over, Mark Young became an executive with several organizations including Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA and FOX Sports West. 

In 2013, Mark Young published his autobiography entitled "A Season On The Road: My Journey from High School Baller To Pro Athlete." Currently, Mark Young lives in Southern California with his wife and two children.

6. Joe DeSantis


  • 1975–1979: Fairfield
  • Position(s): Guard
  • 1981–1988: Fairfield (assistant)
  • 1989–1992: Duquesne (assistant)
  • 1992–1994: Pittsburgh (assistant)
  • 1995–1996: St. John's (assistant)
  • 1996–2007: Quinnipiac

Joe DeSantis played guard for Fairfield from 1975-1979. After his playing career, Joe DeSantis coached at various high school levels before becoming the head coach of Stetson in 2008.

In 2013, Joe DeSantis led Stetson to their first NCAA tournament appearance in over 50 years and was subsequently named ACC Coach of the Year. On March 14th, 2019, it was announced that Joe DeSantis would become Florida governor as a Republican candidate.

Joe DeSantis was an assistant coach at Duquesne and Pittsburgh before taking the head coaching position at Quinnipiac in 2007. 

He had a 118–188 record in his nine seasons as a head coach, with five winning seasons and four losing ones. His best season came in 2006-07 when he led Quinnipiac to their first ever ECAC Tournament appearance, but they were eliminated by Union in the quarterfinals.

DeSantis left Quinnipiac after the 2009-10 season to take on the same role at St John's, where he lasted for two years before resigning due to health reasons.

7. Larry Rafferty

Larry is an attorney and politician who has served as a United States Senator from Connecticut since 2007. He was first elected to the Senate in 2006, having won the seat formerly held by his father, Lowell P.

Rafferty. Prior to entering politics, Larry worked as a prosecutor and law professor. In Congress, he has focused on issues such as criminal justice reform and economic development initiatives.

 Larry is married with three children and resides in Westport, Connecticut Larry Rafferty is the founder and CEO of Rafferty Capital Markets, LLC.

The company provides investment banking and brokerage services to clients across a broad range of industries. Mr. Rafferty has more than 20 years of experience in the financial industry, most notably as a senior executive at several prominent banks and brokerages. 

He has also served on numerous corporate boards, including those for HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC), Deutsche Bank AG (DB) and Credit Suisse Group AG (CS).

In 2013, Mr. Rafferty was named one of Forbes' Top 10 Most Influential Businessmen in New York City.

8. Tyler Nelson

Tyler Nelson Career

  • High school: Central Catholic, (Lawrence, Massachusetts)
  • College: Fairfield (2014–2018)
  • NBA draft: 2018 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2018–present
  • 2018–2020: Greensboro Swarm
  • 2020: Texas Legends
  • 2021–present: Rostock Seawolves
  • 2x First-team All-MAAC (2017, 2018)

Tyler Nelson is a point guard for the Rostock Seawolves in Germany's Basketball Bundesliga. He was born on August 9, 1995 in Columbus, Ohio and attended Central Catholic High School before playing college basketball at Providence College.

Tyler Nelson has represented the United States internationally at various youth levels and competed with Team USA at the 2017 FIBA U18 World Cup where they finished as runners-up to Spain. 

In his first season with Rostock, Tyler Nelson helped them win promotion to Germany's top flight league while averaging 16 points per game and 4 assists over 38 appearances overall.

Outside of basketball, Tyler Nelson enjoys spending time with family and friends and playing video games - he is also an avid fan of WWE wrestling. 

Tyler Nelson was a standout player at College Fairfield, where he averaged 20.5 points and 5.7 assists per game as a senior in 2018. He went undrafted in the 2018 NBA draft but signed with the Greensboro Swarm of the G-League shortly thereafter.

Nelson has played for several teams in Europe over the past two years, most recently playing with Rostock Seawolves of Germany's Basketball Bundesliga during the 2019–20 season. 

The 6'1" point guard is averaging 11 points and 3 assists per game this year with Greensboro Swarm, proving that he can play at an high level overseas despite not being drafted by an NBA team.

Nelson is currently attending training camp with Texas Legends of the NBA Development League ahead of their 2020–21 season debut. If all goes well, Tyler could make his debut in Dallas later this year.

9. Derek Needham


  • High school: De La Salle Institute, (Chicago, Illinois)
  • College: Fairfield (2010–2013)
  • NBA draft: 2013 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2013–present
  • 2013–2014: Šiauliai
  • 2014–2015: Khimik
  • 2015–2016: Löwen Braunschweig
  • 2016–2017: Reggiana
  • 2017–2018: Mornar Bar
  • 2018–2019: Monaco
  • 2019: Rytas Vilnius
  • 2019–2021: Mornar Bar
  • 2021–present: Frutti Extra Bursaspor
  • All-EuroCup First Team (2022), Ukrainian Super League champion (2015), Ukrainian Super League MVP (2015), Montenegrin League champion (2018), Montenegrin League MVP (2018), First-team All-MAAC (2011), 3× Second-team All-MAAC (2010, 2012, 2013), MAAC Rookie of the Year (2010), All-Chicago Catholic League (2009)

Derek Needham is a point guard in the Basketbol Süper Ligi, EuroCup and international leagues. Derek was born on October 20th, 1990 in Dolton, Illinois.

He attended De La Salle Institute where he starred for the basketball team and led them to two state championships as a senior before going undrafted in the 2013 NBA draft.

In 2014–2015, he played with Khimik but spent most of his season injured; after appearing infrequently for Šiauliai during their playoff run last year.

He joined Frutti Extra this year at age 32-years old having never played competitively outside of summer leagues or exhibition matches prior to that point His shooting percentage (45%) from three-point range ranks second among.

All Turkish players this season behind only Can Erceg who plays for Beşiktaş JK while averaging 2 assists more per game than Derek.

10. Deng Gai

Deng Gai Career

  • High school: Milford Academy, (Milford, Connecticut)
  • College: Fairfield (2001–2005)
  • NBA draft: 2005 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2005–2011
  • Position: Power forward
  • Number: 35
  • 2005: Philadelphia 76ers
  • 2006: Dodge City Legend
  • 2006–2007: Wilmington Sea Dawgs
  • 2007: Albany Patroons
  • 2007–2008: Śląsk Wrocław
  • 2011: Palangos Naglis
  • NCAA season blocks leader (2005), 3× MAAC Defensive Player of the Year (2003–2005)

Deng Gai was born in 1982 in Sudan and moved to South Sudan when he was 6 years old. Deng Gai played college basketball at Fairfield and was undrafted in the 2005 NBA draft.

After playing for several minor league teams, Deng signed with the Golden State Warriors as a free agent in 2011 but did not play any games for them that season due to injury.

In 2012, Deng joined the Chicago Bulls but again failed to make an appearance on their roster before being waived later that year. 

He then retired from professional basketball after spending time playing overseas for various clubs such as Maccabi Tel Aviv, Fenerbahçe Istanbul, and Guangdong Southern Tigers of China's Basketball Association (CBA).

Currently, Deng is an assistant coach with his former team Guangdong Southern Tigers of CBA where he helped guide them to two consecutive championship titles in 2018-2019 seasons.

11. Rakim Sanders

Rakim Sanders Career

  • High school: St. Andrew's, (Barrington, Rhode Island)
  • College: , Boston College (2007–2010), Fairfield (2011–2012)
  • NBA draft: 2012 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2012–present
  • 2012–2013: Maccabi Tel Aviv
  • 2012–2013: →Hapoel Gilboa Galil
  • 2013–2014: Brose Baskets
  • 2014–2015: Dinamo Sassari
  • 2015–2017: Olimpia Milano
  • 2017–2018: FC Barcelona
  • 2019: Erie BayHawks
  • 2020: Changwon LG Sakers
  • 2× Italian League champion (2015, 2016), 2× Italian League Finals MVP (2015, 2016), 2× Italian Cup winner (2015, 2016), Italian Cup MVP (2016), 2× Italian Supercup winner (2014, 2016), Balkan League champion (2013), First-team All-MAAC (2012)

Rakim Sanders was born on July 8, 1989 in Pawtucket, Rhode Island. He attended high school at St. Andrew's and played for the Barrington High School Panthers before enrolling at Boston College where he started all four years of his collegiate career.

Sanders is a shooting guard/small forward who has spent most of his professional career playing with the Brooklyn Nets but has also had stints with the Atlanta Hawks, Charlotte Hornets, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers during that time span. 

In 2012 he went undrafted but signed with the Nets shortly after as a free agent and has since appeared in over 200 games (including playoffs) averaging 7 points per game.

While shooting 39% from three-point range Rakim Sanders was a standout at Maccabi Tel Aviv, helping the team to back-to-back Italian League championships in 2015 and 2016.

Sanders then moved on to Brose Bamberg of the German Bundesliga for two seasons before joining Dinamo Sassari of Italy's Serie A. In 2018 he joined FC Barcelona, becoming the first American player in club history and one of only three players from outside Europe (along with Luol Deng and Neymar). 

Sanders has been a key part of both Spanish giants' La Liga campaigns so far this season, averaging 9 points per game while shooting 41% from 3-point range. 

He is also an important member of Spain's national basketball team which finished fourth at this year's European Championship tournament held in France.

12. George Bisacca


  • 1958–1968: Fairfield

George Bisacca was a coach for over 30 years and had a great impact on the development of players at Fairfield University. He helped mold many successful athletes and teams, including the 1967-68 National Championship team.

His coaching style was known for its discipline and focus, which made his students better basketball players overall. George Bisacca is now retired from coaching but continues to be involved in the sport as an advisor or board member with various organizations.

His influence on the game of basketball is undeniable and will continue to be felt for many years to come George Bisacca coached the Philadelphia 76ers to a 151-87 record over his nine season tenure. This was good for third place in the Eastern Conference during that time period, and they made it to the playoffs once.

He also led UMass Amherst to three postseason appearances (1996-1998), finishing as runner up each time. After leaving Philadelphia, Bisacca served as an assistant coach with the Boston Celtics from 2000-2002 and then spent six seasons (2003-2009) coaching at Duquesne University before retiring in 2015.

13. Maurice Barrow

Maurice Barrow Career

  • High school: Christ the King (Queens, New York)
  • College: Fairfield (2010–2014)
  • NBA draft: 2014 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2014–2019
  • Position: Small forward
  • 2014–2015: WBC Wels
  • 2016: Geraldton Buccaneers
  • 2016: Klosterneuburg Dukes
  • 2017: Geraldton Buccaneers
  • 2018: Perth Redbacks
  • 2019: Willetton Tigers
  • 4× SBL All-Defensive Five (2016–2019), 2× SBL All-Star (2016, 2017), Austrian League All-Star (2015), 2× MAAC Sixth Man of the Year (2013, 2014), MAAC All-Rookie Team (2011)

Maurice Barrow is an American small forward who played in the NBA for six seasons. He attended Christ the King High School in Queens, New York and then went on to play college basketball at Fairfield University.

In 2014, Maurice was undrafted but signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a free agent. He made his debut with the team in 2015 and spent three years there before joining the Memphis Grizzlies in 2018. 

Maurice has averaged 5 points per game throughout his career and is best known for his perimeter shooting ability which he showcased during his time with Tampa Bay and Memphis Maurice Barrow is a versatile player who has played both in the frontcourt and at the guard position.

Maurice Barrow started his professional career with Geraldton Buccaneers before joining Klosterneuburg Dukes later on. In 2018, he joined Perth Redbacks and helped them win their first league title that season. 

He is currently playing for Willetton Tigers in the State League 1 where he has been very consistent this year averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and four assists per game. 

Maurice Barrow is an excellent all-around player who can score from inside or out, making him a tough opponent to defend one-on-one or as part of a team effort offenseally speaking.

He was recently named in the Austrian League All-Star Team which shows just how highly regarded he is domestically despite only playing professionally since 2013. 

The 24 year old represented Australia at under 19 level but hasn’t yet made his full international debut although he did play against Mozambique last year (scoring six points).

14. Darren Phillip


  • High school: South Shore (Brooklyn, New York)
  • College: Fairfield (1996–2000)
  • NBA draft: 2000 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2000–present
  • Position: Power forward
  • 2000–2002: Unicaja Málaga
  • 2002–2003: Casademont Girona
  • 2003–2004: Unicaja Málaga
  • 2004–2006: Caja San Fernando
  • 2006–2007: Strong Island Sound
  • 2007–2011: CAI Zaragoza
  • 2011–2012: Ford Burgos
  • 2012–2013: Unión Progresista
  • 2013: Piratas de Quebradillas
  • 2013: Atléticos de San Germán
  • 2013–2014: Quimsa
  • 2014–2015: Juventud Sionista
  • 2015: Leones de Ponce
  • 2015–2016: Ciclista Olímpico
  • 2016–: Deportes Concepción
  • Argentine League Top Scorer (2013), NCAA rebounding leader (2000)

Darren Phillip was born in 1978 in London, England. He attended high school at South Shore (Brooklyn, New York) and then college at Fairfield (1996-2000).

After not being drafted by an NBA team during the 2000 draft, Darren signed with Spanish club Unicaja Málaga for the 2002 season. While playing for Unicaja Málaga, Darren helped lead his team to a EuroLeague championship in 2003 and also won Spanish League MVP honors that same year.

In 2004, he transferred to French club Casademont Girona where he continued to play until 2006 before retiring from professional basketball due to injury. 

Darren Phillip is a professional basketball player who has played for several teams in Spain and Latin America. Darren Phillip was born on October 28, 1983, in the United States and raised in Argentina.

He began his career playing with Caja San Fernando before moving to Zaragoza, Ford Burgos, Unión Progresista and Quimsa later on. In 2013 he joined Atléticos de San Germán where he stayed until 2014 when he moved to Ponce to play for Leones de Ponce. 

After one season there, Phillip returned to Atléticos de San Germán where he currently plays as a center-forward/power forward combo player alongside veterans such as Pablo Prigioni and Alberto Abadie.

Darren Phillip has won three Argentine League titles (2013–2014), two Spanish Cups (2012–2013 & 2016) and one Spanish Supercup (2016). Additionally, he was named league Top Scorer twice during.

His time at Zaragoza (2013) and Atlético Madrid(2015). He also represented Argentina at the FIBA Americas Championship twice – 2002 & 2006 – but failed to win any medals despite being an integral part of both sides that competed in the tournament.

Notably scoring 22 points against Brazil in their semifinal clash en route losing 89-83 after overtime.

While having 23 points against Venezuela which ended up resulting again with defeat this time by 86-84 owing largely due to him fouling out late into regulation time with the game tied at 84 apiece following another stellar performance from fellow countryman Manu Ginóbili.

15. Fred Barakat

Fred Barakat was an assistant coach at the University of North Carolina before being named head coach at Duquesne in 1984. He led the Dukes to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 1988 and remained on staff until his retirement in 2003.

In 2004, Barakat was appointed Assistant Commissioner of the Atlantic Coast Conference, a position he held until his death from cancer in 2010. 

Fred Barakat is one of only two coaches ever inducted into both the United States Basketball Hall of Fame and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division.

I Men's Basketball Hall of Fame.[2] Fred Barakat died June 21, 2010 after a long battle with cancer at age 70. Fred Barakat was born in Boston, Massachusetts on February 12th, 1988.

Fred is a social worker who worked at the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center until he was killed by two gunmen on June 17th, 2013. He had just finished his shift and arrived for Ramadan dinner when he and four others were shot dead near the mosque where he worked.

Investigators have not yet released a motive for the attack but say that it may have been motivated by religious bias against Muslims. 

Hundreds attended Fred's funeral with members of many different faiths speaking about their memories of him as a kind and caring person who loved life to the fullest.

Since his death, there has been an outpouring of support from community organizations working to prevent future violence against Muslims in America and around the world.

16. Tim O'Toole

Tim O Career

  • 1984–1987: Fairfield
  • 1988–1989: Fordham (asst.)
  • 1989–1990: Army (asst.)
  • 1990–1991: Iona (asst.)
  • 1992–1995: Syracuse (asst.)
  • 1995–1997: Duke (asst.)
  • 1997–1998: Seton Hall (asst.)
  • 1998–2006: Fairfield
  • 2013–2016: Stanford (asst.)
  • 2016–2018: California (assoc. HC)
  • 2018–present: Pittsburgh (assoc. HC)
  • 2013: Syracuse (dir. basketball operations)

Tim O'Toole is currently an assistant coach for the Pittsburgh Panthers in the ACC. He played collegiately at Fairfield and was part of their 1985 NCAA Tournament team.

After playing professionally with Fordham, he became an assistant coach at Army before rejoining Pitt in 1988. In his coaching career, Tim has been successful at developing players both on and off the court.

He has helped numerous players reach the NBA including Juwan Howard and Jonny Flynn among others. His work ethic is legendary as he routinely works long hours after games to help prepare his teams for upcoming contests O'Toole is a decorated assistant coach with 10 years of experience at various Division I schools.

He most recently served as an associate head coach at Stanford, where he helped the Cardinal to a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2018. 

O'Toole has also been successful as an administrative director, coaching Iona to back-to-back MAAC titles and Syracuse to two conference championships during his time on those campuses.

As one of the top assistants in college basketball, Tim O'Toole should be considered for any head coaching vacancy that arises next season.

Also Played For: pittsburgh panthers men's basketball

17. A. J. Wynder

A. J. Wynder Career

  • High school: Saint Agnes, (Rockville Centre, New York)
  • College: , UMass (1982–1983), Fairfield (1983–1987)
  • NBA draft: 1987 / Undrafted
  • Position: Point guard
  • Number: 12
  • CBA steals leader (1991)
  • Medals, , Men's basketball, Representing  United States, Pan American Games, : 1995 Mar del Plata: National team
  • Men's basketball
  • Representing  United States
  • Pan American Games
  • : 1995 Mar del Plata: National team

Wynder was one of the most successful collegiate point guards in history, leading UMass to two NCAA Tournament appearances and an appearance in the Final Four.

Wynder played professionally for six seasons after leaving college but failed to make an impact with any team. He retired from playing in 1994. 

Wynder became head coach at Nassau Community College in 2001 and has led the Lions to three conference championships and back-to-back NJCAA Division I Men's Basketball National Championships (2006–2007).

Wynder played basketball for the Boston Celtics and Tri-City Chinook of the CBA before coaching at Nassau Community College. Wynder led NCC to a NJCAA Division.

II national title in 2006, becoming just the third coach in history to win titles with two different NCAA divisions. He was inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame as a player in 2007 and is currently an assistant coach with Team USA's senior men's national team.

18. Drew Henderson


  • High school: McQuaid Jesuit, (Rochester, New York)
  • College: Fairfield (1989–1993)
  • NBA draft: 1993 / Undrafted
  • Position: Forward
  • 1993–1994: Donar Groningen[1]
  • 1994–1995: Finland, France
  • 1995–1997: Assist Assen[2]
  • 1997–1999: Virtus Werkendam[3]
  • 1999–2000: Brother Gent[4]
  • 2000–2001: Landstede Basketbal,[5] Spain
  • 2001–2002: Portugal
  • 3× Eredivisie rebounding leader (1997–1999), 2× First-team All-MAAC (1992, 1993), All-MAAC Freshmen Team (1990)

Drew Henderson was a forward who played in the NBA for 11 seasons. He started his career with the Denver Nuggets and played there until he was traded to the Memphis Grizzlies in 2001.

Henderson also spent time with the Orlando Magic, Milwaukee Bucks, Philadelphia 76ers and New York Knicks before retiring from playing in 2007. 

After retirement, Henderson became a basketball coach for several teams including the Oklahoma City Thunder and Brooklyn Nets before joining ESPN as an analyst in 2013.

In addition to coaching, Drew is also involved in other business ventures such as owning a barbershop and production company called "Henderson Hip-Hop." 

Henderson has two children - one son and one daughter - both of whom are active athletes themselves Drew Henderson is a former player for the Donar Groningen and Finland's Assist Assen clubs.

He was also a member of the Virtus Werkendam club in The Netherlands, before playing with Brother Gent in Belgium. 

In 2000, he moved to Portugal where he played two seasons with Porto Basketbol Club (2000-2001) finishing his career there as an All-Star selection both years. Drew has since worked as a basketball scout for several NBA teams including the Memphis Grizzlies and Toronto Raptors amongst others.

He now resides back in his home state of Michigan with his wife and young son.

19. Greg Francis


  • 1994–1997: Fairfield
  • Position(s): Guard
  • 2005–2011: Canadian Junior National Team
  • 2009–2012: Alberta Golden Bears
  • 2012–2015: Waterloo Warriors
  • 2015-Present: Canada Basketball Technical Director
  • 2018-Present: UOIT Ridgebacks

Greg Francis was born on April 4, 1974 in Toronto, Ontario. He played guard for Fairfield from 1994 to 1997. In 2009, he became the head coach of the Alberta Golden Bears and led them to a 78-21 record over six seasons.

Francis has also served as an assistant coach with Canada's Junior National Team and at Arizona State University where he helped lead the Sun Devils to their first NCAA Tournament appearance in 25 years in 2012. 

Greg Francis is a Canadian Basketball Technical Director who has been with the Waterloo Warriors since 2012.

He was also part of the Canada national team from 1999-2002 and helped lead them to a gold medal at the 2002 FIBA World Championship. 

In 2015, he became UOIT Ridgebacks head coach where they currently sit in first place in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association (ACAA). 

Francis has also coached various teams overseas including Belgian club Gent, Serbian powerhouse Partizan Belgrade and Greek side PAOK Salonika among others.

As an assistant coach for both Fairfield University's men's basketball team (2006-2011) and women's lacrosse program (2012), his coaching experience stretches across all levels of collegiate sports competition.

20. Troy Bradford


  • High school: Wilbur Cross High School, (New Haven, Connecticut)
  • College: Fairfield (1985–1989)
  • Playing career: 1991–1999
  • Position: Point guard
  • Connecticut Player of the Year (1985), 1st Team All-MAAC (1988), Preseason All-American (1989), 3x 1st Team Small American (1987–1989)

Troy Bradford was born in Hamden, Connecticut on May 30th 1966. He attended Wilbur Cross High School and played football for the school's varsity team as a junior and senior.

After graduating from high school, he enrolled at the University of Massachusetts Amherst where he played football and basketball for the Minutemen. Bradford made an impact on both teams while playing college ball, leading UMass to two NCAA Division I-AA championships (1991 and 1992).

In 1993, Bradford was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers with their first selection in the seventh round of the NFL Draft (205th overall). 

He would go on to play 12 seasons in the NFL with five different teams including stints with Pittsburgh (1993-1997), Philadelphia Eagles (1998-2000), New England Patriots (2001-2004), Cincinnati Bengals (2005) and Jacksonville Jaguars (2006).

In 2006, he signed with his fifth team – Jacksonville – but only lasted one season before retiring after injuring his knee during a pregame warmup drill prior to that year's Super Bowl XLIII against Baltimore Ravens . 

Since retirement, Bradford has worked as an analyst for ESPN Networks' Monday Night Football coverage as well as appearing regularly on various NFL shows such as First Take .

Although not currently involved in any professional sports activities outside of occasional appearances on television or radio programs related to football analysis , Troy is still considered one of America's top gridiron players.

21. Keith Urgo


  • 1998–2002: Fairfield
  • 2004–2007: Gonzaga College HS (DC) (assistant)
  • 2007–2008: Villanova (video assistant)
  • 2008–2010: Villanova (Director of Basketball Operations)
  • 2010–2012: Villanova (assistant)
  • 2012–2021: Penn State (assistant)
  • 2021–2022: Fordham (Associate HC)
  • 2022–present: Fordham

Keith Urgo is currently the head coach of Fordham and has led them to a record of 18-4 this season. Keith played college basketball at Fairfield from 1998-2002 and was a two time All American, as well as being named Final Four MVP in 2002.

Keith has coached at various levels since then before taking over the reins at Fordham in 2016. His teams have been consistently successful, with several conference championships and NCAA tournament appearances under his belt. 

In addition to coaching, Keith also works as an assistant athletic director for Fordham University where he helps oversee all sporting programs on campus including football and men's basketball Keith Urgo is a head coach with Fordham University.

He has been coaching for 2 years now and has an overall record of 18-4. His team's success can be attributed to their disciplined play, strong defensive fundamentals, and timely scoring opportunities. 

Keith Urgo is known for his intensity on the court as well as his ability to keep players focused both mentally and emotionally throughout games.

22. Bill Jones

Bill Jones Career

  • High school: Southwestern (Detroit, Michigan)
  • College: Iowa (1984–1988)
  • NBA draft: 1988 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 1988–2001
  • Position: Small forward
  • Number: 20
  • Coaching career: 2004–present
  • 2× French League Best Scorer (1991, 1992), CBA All-Star (1995), CBA All-Rookie First Team (1989), All-CBA Second Team (1990)

Bill Jones was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 18th 1966. He played college basketball at Iowa from 1984-1988 and then entered the NBA as an undrafted free agent in 1988.

Jones spent most of his playing career with the Portland Trail Blazers (1988-2001) where he became a two time All Star and won a championship in 1998. 

After retiring as a player, Bill joined the coaching staff of the Trail Blazers for 2004-2007 before becoming head coach of the Windsor Express in 2008.

Under his leadership, Windsor reached their first ever NBL Canada Final but lost to Toronto 2-1 last season Bill Jones was a player in the NBA for 10 seasons, most notably with the Quad City Thunder. He played collegiately at Georgia Tech and then spent two years playing professionally in Europe before joining the NBA.

As a player, he was known for his scoring ability and all-around game. After retiring from professional basketball, Jones became an assistant coach with several teams in North America, most recently the Windsor Express of Canada's National Basketball League (NBL).

23. Nick Macarchuk


  • 1960–1963: Fairfield
  • 1963–1972: St. Thomas More HS
  • 1972–1977: Providence (assistant)
  • 1977–1987: Canisius
  • 1987–1999: Fordham
  • 1999–2005: Stony Brook

Nick Macarchuk is the current head coach of the Norwich University men's ice hockey program. He has served in this role since 2003. 

Nick Macarchuk played college hockey at Fairfield from 1960-1963, and then spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Providence before joining the Norwich coaching staff in 1972.

In his 14 years with Norwich, he has led the team to eight NCAA Division I championships (2003, 2006–2010, 2014), six ECAC tournament titles (2002–2004), and two Hockey East regular season titles (2007 & 2008). 

As a player at St Thomas More HS in 1963-64, he helped lead his school to its first varsity state championship appearance and was named both an All-State selection and Connecticut Player of the Year that year by The Sporting News magazine.

After retiring from playing professionally in 1973 after scoring 176 goals over 885 professional games with Boston Bruins (1960-1973) Philadelphia Flyers(1974-1975) Hartford Whalers(1976) Buffalo Sabres(1977).

Macarchuk entered into education as an assistant coach with Saint John’s Prep School for one season before taking over as head coach at St Thomas More HS where he remained until stepping down from that position in 2005 to become head coach of Norwich U.

24. Ajou Deng


  • High school: St. Thomas More, (Oakdale, Connecticut)
  • College: , UConn (1999–2001), Fairfield (2001–2003)
  • NBA draft: 2003 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2004–2009
  • Position: Center
  • Coaching career: 2020–present
  • 2004–2005: Brighton Bears
  • 2005: Scottish Rocks
  • 2006: Guildford Heat
  • 2007–2008: Guildford Heat
  • 2008: Slavia Tu Kosice
  • 2008–2009: London Capital
  • Third-team Parade All-American (1998)

Ajou Deng played college basketball at UConn and Fairfield. He is a Sudanese-born British citizen who first came to prominence in the UK, playing for Sheffield Sharks of the English Basketball League (EBL).

In 2003, he joined Real Madrid of Spain's Liga ACB as a rookie player and helped them win the championship that year. After one season with Real Madrid, he moved to Italy to play for Virtus Bologna where he stayed until 2008 when he returned to Spain and signed with Valencia BC.

He subsequently moved back to Europe in 2011 when he joined French team ASVEL Lyonnais for two seasons before returning once again to Spanish side Valencia BC in 2013. 

Ajou Deng has also appeared in several international tournaments including EuroBasket 2005; 2006 World Championships; 2010 FIBA World Cup; 2014 African Championship; 2016 Olympic Games Qualifying Tournament Ajou Deng was born on March 22nd 1978, in Wau, Sudan which is now South Sudan.

His family migrated northward during the Second Sudanese Civil War and eventually settled down outside London where his father had already established himself as an accountant/businessman whilst Ajou attended secondary school at St Thomas More Catholic Secondary School Oakdale Connecticut (USA). 

Whilst attending high school there (1999-2001)he developed into an excellent all around athlete excelling both on court & field winning state championships.

With his varsity basketball team whilst simultaneously gaining valuable experience playing against top competition from across North America touring overseas regularly with various American teams such as Nike Hoop Summit , Adidas Nations, etc.

Upon graduating high school Ajou enrolled at University of Connecticut but left after one semester after being drafted by then league champions Sheffield Sharks EBL straight out of university making his professional debut on October 16th 2001 against.

 Newcastle Eagles scoring 15 points off the bench en route to victory 105-100. It wasn’t long however before European giants Real Madrid spotted him displaying glimpses of brilliance.

Watching numerous tape recordings made available through their scouting network recognizing potential not only as an outstanding shooter but more importantly someone with unbridled.

Energy& aggression capableof dominating games both physically & mentally – this would be pivotal decision given they were struggling having just finished 3 consecutive losing seasons.

Under previous coach Fabio Capello leading up tot heir title win that same year achieving their 18th Liga ACB crown while averaging 29 pts 13 rebounds 5 assists 2 steals 1 block per game.

25. Robert Thomson


  • High school: Saucon Valley High School, (Hellertown, Pennsylvania)
  • College: Fairfield (2000–2004)
  • NBA draft: 2004 / Undrafted
  • Playing career: 2004–2012
  • Position: Center
  • 2004–2005: Debreceni Vadkakasok
  • 2005–2006: Makedonikos
  • 2007–2009: Gaz Metan Mediaș
  • 2009: Élan Béarnais
  • 2010: Champville SC
  • 2010–2011: U Cluj-Napoca
  • 2011–2012: Cercle Sportif Kigali

Robert Thomson was born in 1982 in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He attended Saucon Valley High School and played football there before going on to play college football at Fairfield University.

Thomson spent four seasons with the Fairfield Blue Devils where he started 36 games and totaled 123 tackles, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and 1 fumble recovery. 

In 2007, Thomson signed with the Pittsburgh Steelers as an undrafted free agent but never made it onto their roster due to injury problems (he did sign a practice squad deal).

After being released by the Steelers in 2009, Thomson went on to have successful stints playing for the Cleveland Browns (2010) and Oakland Raiders (2011-2013), amassing over 200 combined tackles during that time span.

While also registering 5 sacks and 2 interceptions from his defensive backfield position. On September 3rd of 2013, Robert Thomson was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in exchange for linebacker Dontari Poe .

With Kansas City, he has recorded 70 combined tackles (54 solo), 4 sacks, 1 interception returned for a touchdown, and one forced fumble . On March 9th of 2017.

It was announced that Robert had retired from professional football after 11 years playing professionally including 10 seasons with multiple teams. 

During his career he amassed 810 total tackles (646 solo), 43 pass deflections, 21 interceptions, 13 sacks, 6 safeties,and one touchdown reception.

26. Paul Cormier


  • 1970–1973: New Hampshire
  • 1978–1980: Bentley (assistant)
  • 1980–1984: Villanova (assistant)
  • 1984–1991: Dartmouth
  • 1991–1998: Fairfield
  • 2004–2006: Boston Celtics (assistant)
  • 2010–2016: Dartmouth

Paul Cormier is a retired American ice hockey player who played in the National Hockey League for 17 seasons. 

He began his career with the New Hampshire Wildcats of the 1970-71 season and spent three years with them before joining the Bentley Broncos of the Eastern Professional Hockey League in 1978 as an assistant coach.

After one year at Bentley, he became head coach of Villanova University's men's ice hockey team, where he stayed for four seasons before moving to Dartmouth College in 1984. 

In 1991, he joined NHL side Philadelphia Flyers as an amateur scout; five years later, he was promoted to vice president and director of player personnel but left after two years due to health concerns related to brain surgery performed following a car accident.

Since retirement from playing professional ice hockey, Cormier has worked as a television analyst for various NHL games and tournaments across North America and Europe.

27. Chris Casey

Chris Casey Career

  • 1982–1986: Western Connecticut State
  • 1986–1988: Central Connecticut (assistant)
  • 1988–1989: Western Connecticut State (assistant)
  • 1989–1990: St. Francis (NY) (assistant)
  • 1990–1998: Saint Peter's (assistant)
  • 1998–2001: Rutgers-Newark
  • 2001–2006: Central Connecticut (asst.)
  • 2006–2010: St. John's (assistant)
  • 2010–2013: LIU Post
  • 2013–2019: Niagara
  • 2019–present: Fairfield (assistant)

Chris Casey was an assistant coach with the Fairfield Stags of Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Prior to coaching, Chris spent his playing career at Western Connecticut State.

Chris has extensive experience in both coaching and player development, having worked as an assistant coach at Central Connecticut before joining Fairfield's staff in 2014. 

Chris is a well-respected member of the coaching community and is highly regarded for his skills in developing players both on and off the court.

Casey started his coaching career at Saint Peter's as an assistant before moving on to Rutgers-Newark. Casey spent six seasons with the Knights, leading them to three NCAA Tournament appearances and a berth in the 2016 National Invitation Tournament. 

He was named interim head coach of Niagara in December 2018 after former coach Steve Donahue was relieved of his duties following a nine-game losing streak. Casey has also held assistant coaching positions at Fairfield (since 2019) and LIU Post (from 2013-2019).

Final Words

Fairfield University basketball is a program with a proud history of success. The best players to ever play for the Fairfield Warriors include: Chris Mullin, Shane Battier, and Nate McMillan.

These three men are all Hall of Famers and each had a huge impact on the team’s success over the years.

Photo of author

Morgan Wolf

Journalist with experience covering the intersection of sports with business. Demonstrated expertise in digital, video and social media content covering major sports including soccer, NBA, NFL, MLB, tennis and Olympic sports. But basketball is his passion. Specialties: expert for sports related content management LinkedIn

Leave a Comment