"Center Court" w/ Sr. F/G Landry Fields (#2)

The Bootleg's new Men's Hoops writer Kevin Danna chats courtside with one of the Pac-10's most intriguing talents, Stanford senior Landry Fields. The co-MVP of the 2009 SF Pro-Am League is gearing up for a monster senior campaign, one that should see the athletic forward thrive in Johnny Dawkins' motion offense. Read on to hear how Landry is honing his leadership skills on and off the "Fields".

"Center Court" w/ Senior F/G Landry Fields (#2)

Many college athletes mature physically over the course of their four years, but it is not quite as common to witness the wholesale transformation undergone by rising star forward Landry Fields.  Arriving on The Farm in the fall of 2006 as a lanky 6-5, 185-pound 18-year-old from Long Beach, Fields has grown two inches and added 25 pounds to his frame, now entering his senior season at all of 6-7 and a lean-but-deceptively-strong 210 pounds. This remarkable physical growth surely helps explain how he has become the Cardinal's top returning scorer and the conference's top returning rebounder. 

As for the source of this growth?  While much of his height increase and a good portion of his additional pounds come from natural maturation of the body, a dedicated routine of off-season workouts and summer lifting certainly hasn't hurt.

"Every day we had conditioning at 7:00 am Tuesday and Thursday and we had lifting Monday, Wednesday, and Friday," reports the 2006 graduate of Los Alamitos High, a school known more for its pass-happy football teams. 

Thanks to Stanford's former Strength and Conditioning Coach Preston Greene (who recently took the same position at his alma-mater Clemson), Landry and his fellow Cardinal teammates were able to make the most out of their summer, getting in plenty of training in addition to attending class.  With conditioning and lifting five days a week, culminating in a "Strong Man Competition" every Friday (in which Landry would finish in the top-three for the summer - pretty impressive considering he was going up against five post players), it's no wonder that the senior forward has emerged as a true physical specimen, with the growing confidence that often accompanies enhanced physical weaponry.

But the dedicated Fields didn't stop there in preparation for the upcoming season.  He also played a lot of basketball. Along with teammates Josh Owens and Andrew Zimmerman, Landry participated in a Pro-Am Summer League up in San Francisco.

"It was a great experience to go down there every week and to play against the best people that are from the Bay Area… It's only going to help me out individually for the upcoming season and like I said its going to help me enter this next season on a high note," said Fields.

While he might be a little modest in relating his experience playing in the Pro-Am, I won't be nearly as bashful.  The returning senior absolutely dominated the Summer League playing for the Oakland Believers, compiling an average of 36.8 points per game and converting over 53 percent of his field-goal attempts en-route to co-MVP Honors of the 2009 San Francisco Pro-Am League. 

Perhaps his most memorable highlight in the summer league came against a team featuring former Golden State Warriors center Adonal Foyle, a high-springing veteran NBA player well-known for his defense and shot-blocking. In the game, Fields dunked not once, but twice over the eighth overall pick of the '97 NBA Draft out of Colgate.  In the more impressive of the two, Landry took a bounce pass in transition beyond the three-point arc, got to the hoop with one dribble, and threw down with one hand as Foyle attempted unsuccessfully to deny him two points, a thundering dunk [For See YouTube video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQFmTAYxc5o], reminiscent of the one he had his sophomore year against Harvard.

Landry, or "Skills", as his teammates call him, has really lived up to his nickname as of late.  Fields has seen his numbers grow in addition to his frame over the course of the past three seasons on the Farm.  After averaging a little over four points and two rebounds per game during his freshman and sophomore seasons, Landry had a break-out 2008-09 campaign by tallying impressive averages of 12.6 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest, the latter mark constituting a Cardinal team-high. Not bad for a versatile player capable of playing at guard or either forward position.

The secret is out now: Landry Fields is a force to be reckoned with, and he understands the responsibilities that now lie on his broad shoulders. When asked what it takes to be a leader, Fields states "It takes a lot… a lot of leading by example, showing guys on the team that you can't have any let-downs".

Included in his newfound responsibilities, Fields realizes, is the need to encourage his teammates to hold each other accountable at all times.  He feels that in order to build teamwork and togetherness, each and every one of the Stanford players will need to contribute as leaders. "We need to take responsibility for everyone's actions on and off the court", adding that "if everybody buys into what they need to do individually, that will help us down the line as a team".

Looking forward to this season, the Southern California native emphasizes the importance of perfecting the execution of Head Coach Johnny Dawkins' game plan.  "The keys for success are mainly working hard and buying into the system that the coaches have tried to instill, even more so than last year", says Fields, who also notes that complete focus on the task at hand is a must.  "Our mentality has to be that if you're going to be a good team, you can't let any outside forces sway you away from what you need to do," he declares.

A transition between two head coaches is difficult for any team, but especially so when it involves a drastic change of philosophy and personnel.  Offensively, t he Cardinal did fairly well in adapting to Coach Dawkins' motion offense in 2007-08, but on the defensive end, the departures of the Lopez twins, along with veteran seniors Taj Finger, Fred Washington, and Peter Prowitt, were a little too much as Stanford was unable to reach the NCAA Tournament.  In addition, with the team's top two scorers gone from a season ago (Anthony Goods and Lawrence Hill), the ability to defend as a team becomes that much more of a critical priority. 

"The saying goes ‘defense wins championships'," Fields says, "It's not just one guy trying to stop his man, it's a group of five trying to stop the other team.  And when things break down, you have to count on each other to be there and to step up and help out… no teams can win if they don't score, so that's how important defense is."

Fields knows that if his team is able to get stops, they should be in good position, because the Cardinal is going to be a formidable problem for their opponents on the offensive end.  "We're going to be up-tempo," states Fields confidently, "It's going to be a real fun game to watch."

Get your popcorn ready, folks. 

About the Bootleg's Newest Author: Kevin Danna, Stanford '09, started out as a student manager-in-training for the Men's Basketball Team on October 14, 2005, and has lived and breathed Stanford Basketball ever since. From doing laundry to filming practice to working summer camps, he has been involved with many facets of the Men's Basketball program.  Upon retirement from his manager position on March 25, 2009 at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season, Kevin took an undeservedly prolonged break from any kind of work and eventually got his degree from The Farm in Spanish.  Shaking off the cobwebs of five months of laziness, Kevin has started working as a play-by-play and color broadcaster for gostanford.com, calling home contests (in English) for several Stanford sports.  He also hosts a sports talk show on 90.1 FM KZSU from 9-10pm every Tuesday entitled "The Sports Zoo", as well as a music show called "408's Finest" immediately following sports talk from 10pm-Midnight.  An alumnus of San Jose's Bellarmine Prep, Kevin proudly admits that he currently lives at home in San Jose with his parents and cat.

If you haven't already, please join us in welcoming Kevin Danna, the newest addition to the Boot-Family! 

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