"Coach [Lute] Olson was at the game Friday. I played pretty well," says Landry Fields. "I was talking with an assistant coach afterward, Josh Paster, about where I was at with recruiting. They officially offered on Saturday, but I pretty much knew Friday night that I was being offered."
The excitement Arizona's offer on Friday was just one piece of a magnificent evening for Fields, a 6'5" shooting guard from Los Alamitos (Calif.) High School. He scored a double-double (including 20 points) and dished four assists to help the Griffins bounce Edison High School in a 71-57 victory that broke a tie atop the Sunset League standings and avenged a January loss to the Chargers.
Fields knew that Friday would not only bring the Wildcat coaches to his gym and a top league rival. He was also told by Stanford that he would have his long-awaited admissions application decision by the end of the day.
"One the game was over, I talked with reporters and let the adrenaline wear off," the Cardinal recruit recounts. "I'm walking back to the locker room and start to think again about Stanford. I had a ton of messages on my cell phone. Coach [Trent] Johnson had tried to call me like four times. I called him back and talked to him. He said I was in and congratulations."
While Fields was confident of his chances at admission to The Farm, it was a magical moment for the student-athlete.
"I couldn't believe it. I had been working so hard and so long for this," he explains.
Suddenly, Landry Fields had a pair of offers from the top two Pac-10 powers of the last decade. After showing his wares during the summer on the AAU circuit and the waiting through the fall signing period to play his senior year into improved options, the wing athlete garnered Stanford and Arizona offers in a period of 24 hours. Recruiting can be quirky like that. And for a 17-year old, that could be quite a bit to digest all at once.
Fields, however, had been engaged with the Card and Cats for some time. He had already taken his official visits to both schools. By Sunday, Fields was ready to render his college decision.
"It was hard to turn down Arizona," he admits. "They have a great coaching staff and a great program. But in my heart, I knew I wanted to be at Stanford. Once Friday rolled around and I was admitted, it kind of reached a climax for me."
"I told my dad first that I was going to Stanford," Fields continues. "Once I told him, it felt good. It felt right. I'm going to Stanford."
The Orange County standout called Trent Johnson early Sunday afternoon to deliver the news.
"He said they were on a bus - I think they were on the way back from Oregon," Fields describes. "Coach Johnson said he was real thrilled. He couldn't talk long but said he was going to tell everybody on the bus, and they were going to jump up and down."
At the end of this journey, the unbridled exhilaration for Fields is fun to see, but it was not an easy road for him to reach this point. Coming out of his summer, Fields looked like he would have the delight of choosing between Stanford, Gonzaga and possibly other high-major programs out West. Then the Cardinal told him he would have to wait until the spring signing period to have a chance at admission, while the Zags cancelled his official visit and also put his scholarship on hold. Fields visited New Mexico and fielded an offer from the Lobos, but he passed and pushed to the late signing period.
"It was kind of hard. I didn't know what to expect. I didn't know how many other schools would call me," he says of his decision last fall. "I was going to do my best to get into Stanford. If my best wasn't good enough, then I would live that."
"I'm pretty excited now," Fields exhales. "I'm relieved that this is over with. I can't wait for this summer and fall."
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