Tracking the Stars of the Future
Thursday, January 19, 2006
By Thad Mumau
Jack Britt star brings
athleticism to frontcourt
John Fields didn’t take long to make his
decision about which college to attend. He liked what East Carolina
basketball coach Ricky Stokes had to say, and so he picked the Pirates.
The 6-9 forward from Fayetteville (NC) Jack
Britt High School committed to ECU in early September, then signed with the
Pirates in November. He also had scholarship offers from UNC-Wilmington,
Virginia Commonwealth, Winthrop, UNC-Greensboro, North Carolina A&T, The
Citadel and Elon.
“He didn’t even take a visit,” Britt coach Ike
Walker, Jr., said. “He was very impressed with Coach Stokes. John grew up
reading and hearing about the Atlantic Coast Conference, and he had always
thought about schools in that league. But if you aren’t going to the ACC,
East Carolina is the next best thing.”
Fields averaged 17.4 points, 9.3 rebounds and
3.3 blocked shots in his junior season, which was spent at Fayetteville
Academy, a private school. He hit 62 percent of his field goal attempts and
54.2 percent of his free throws.
He scored a season-high 29 points and grabbed
23 rebounds in addition to blocking five shots as Fayetteville Academy
rallied for a 79-72 win over Charlotte Hickory Grove in the quarterfinals of
the Eastern Plains Independent Conference tournament.
Fields was named all-tournament as the Eagles
went on to win the EPIC championship. They also won the regular-season
title, and he was a first-team all-conference choice. He was also selected
to the North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association all-state
He has made the rounds in Cumberland County,
spending his first two years of high school at Seventy-First. He saw limited
playing time as a freshman, then got into all of the Falcons’ game his
Fields practiced with Jack Britt less than a
week in the fall of 2004 before moving to Fayetteville Academy.
“If there is a better player in this county, I
want to see him,” Fayetteville Academy coach Doug Ginn said. “He has size,
but he can do a lot of things too.
“He has tremendous athleticism; he can really
jump. You don’t always see that from a guy as tall as John. We ran a lot of
alley-oop plays for him, and he got a bunch of dunks off of them.
“John has a nice jump shot out to 15 feet and
he handles the ball pretty well for his size. He can defend when he wants
to, and he’s so long that he’s tough to get around. He also moves his feet
well. Of course, he needs to get stronger, which is true of most high school
This season, Fields is averaging 17.2 points
and 10.7 rebounds per game, leading the Mid-Southeastern 4-A Conference in
both categories. He threw in 29 points and pulled down 15 boards in Britt’s
70-49 win over Pinecrest.
“John is a back-to-the-basket player for us,”
Walker said, “but he can step out and hit the jumper from 12-14 feet. He
will have to do that more consistently, however, to be a threat in college.
“We need him inside, but we’ll give him the
opportunity to move outside at times. He can face the basket, but that’s not
how we use him most of the time.
“He is a good athlete who is quick off his
feet," Walker said. "He does a lot of good things. He blocks shots, but
changes more than he blocks, and that’s just as good if not better because
we usually end up with the ball.
“Most big guys have their size as an
advantage, and John can also get off the floor well. He has long arms too,
so he plays taller than 6-9.”
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