During his junior year, Landry Fields was an intriguing but lightly recruited prospect for the 2006 class. The baby-faced wing was one-dimensional in his offense while lacking physical maturity. In the last few months, his abilities and outlook have changed dramatically. For those who call foolhardy evaluating players in a camp environment or on the AAU circuit - this story is for you.
"My junior year, I was predominately a scorer. I averaged 17 to 18 points, three to four assists and like two rebounds per game," the Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School senior starts. "I think I can do a lot better this year. Last winter, I wasn't a real threat off the dribble."
The 6'3" 165-pound wing found physical strength, athletic ability and a new skill level in the months to follow. We caught a good look at Fields while he attended the Stanford High Potential Camp in late June, with a surprising arsenal. His feel for the game had him making plays from all spots on the floor, while he continued to shoot the ball with a nice stroke and high percentage.
In July, Fields put his best foot forward nationally with his burgeoning game. He attended the adidas Superstar Camp, Cream of the Crop Challenge, adidas Super 64 tournament and the Best of Summer.
"It's a dramatic change," Fields says of his play. "Now I can take guys off the dribble, pump fake and get to the rack. I also jump a lot higher, and I'm a lot quicker. In Vegas and Cypress, particularly, I shot the ball real well, handled myself against pressure and made better decisions with the ball."
"It's really exciting," he adds. "What made this summer so much fun was that I was consistent. In the past I did things at times, but it was up and down."
Fields turned 17 this summer, though he looks like he could still be 16. His upside as he continues his physical development is exciting. College coaches out West are starting to agree, as Fields' recruitment moved from the mid-major to high-major ranks in July. Previously courted by the Big West and WAC, he now has some of the bigger programs on the Left Coast looking at him.
Fields has three official visits in the next two months, starting this weekend with New Mexico. The Lobos have extended an offer, while the other two programs have issues outstanding.
"Gonzaga says that they have three offers and four guys they are looking at. They'll bring us all on visits, and we'll see," Fields explains.
The Stanford situation is a little more complex.
"I've talked with Coach [Trent] Johnson. He told me he thought I was a great shooter and a smart player who makes good decisions. He thinks I have a great upside," Fields relates. "They are telling me they will hold a scholarship. They cannot offer me until after my first semester. Admissions wants to see a little higher GPA and SAT."
Though a solid student, Landry Fields experienced two letdowns that derailed his possibility of signing a National Letter of Intent with Stanford in November. His high school transcript took a hit the second semester of his junior year. He also took the SAT for the first time in June and came back with a score that startled both him and his guidance counselors.
"I had so much confidence. I thought I would do a lot better," he offers on the standardized test travail.
Rather than sulk, Fields has decided to rally. He is scheduled to retake the SAT in October, and in August he took an intensive test prep course. A friend will take that same SAT with him, so they plan on studying together.
"There is no magic number Stanford told me I need to get," he explains. "They just want me to raise my score. I want to get at least a 1600."
Though Fields will take the SAT and his Stanford official visit (10/21) both in October, the need for a seventh semester of grades on his transcript necessitates a signing during the spring period. That presents the $64,000 question at hand for Landry Fields: does he jump on a New Mexico (or possibly Gonzaga) offer to sign in the fall, or does he wait until the spring? That question is broader than a Stanford issue. Fields currently holds no Pac-10 offers, but he has Pac-10 ability. Playing his senior season could open more doors and very likely give him greater choices in the spring.
"I think that's a definite possibility," Fields says of a spring signing. "I started to get a lot of attention during the summer, but I still have something to prove my senior year."
"Stanford is really high on my list. I would like to wait on them," he adds. "I'm taking my visits the next couple of months; what I do will depend on how those go."
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