Friday, January 23, 2009

Fields going to the Stags

ALBANY - Consider Jamel Fields the latest in a long line of Section II basketball players to continue their college careers in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.
The junior guard from The Albany Academies has made a verbal commitment to play at Fairfield University, joining former Bishop Maginn standout Shimeek Johnson as a member of the Stags. Albany Academy teammate Chris Pelcher earlier made a commitment to Iona College.
Fields, an explosive scorer in the Cadets’ backcourt, is averaging 18.2 points per game for Albany Academy (14-1), the No. 4 ranked Class AA team in New York.
"Fairfield is a great commitment for him because I think he is an Atlantic 10 talent," said Jim Hart, who coached Fields with the Albany City Rocks, an AAU team, and also as an assistant at Albany Academy. "You try to pick the highest level a kid can go and a level below that is where he can really shine."
Atlantic 10 schools such as Massachusetts and Rhode Island were also interested in Fields.
He averaged 18.6 points per game as a sophomore in 2007-08, leading the Cadets to a 16-0 record in Colonial Council play en route to council MVP honors. Fields was a member of The Record’s 2008 Preseason High School Basketball Dream Team.
Fairfield’s top scorer, Greg Nero, played for Hart with the City Rocks and his input, along with Johnson’s, helped swing Fields’ decision. Nero, a Red Hook native, is the Stags’ second-leading scorer. He averages 13.8 points and 6.7 rebounds per game.
Fairfield assistant coach Carmen Maciariello has ties to the Capital Region as the former Director of Basketball Operations at Siena College and as Vice President of the City Rocks. Having seen him play in Albany as a youngster, Maciariello was sold on Fields and made his pitch to Fairfield head coach Ed Cooley.
Now that Fields has his college decision made, Hart believes that he will really emerge on the court for the Cadets as Albany Academy looks to make a push through the Section II Class AA tournament beginning in February.
"I think that’s huge for kids to clear up the uncertainty," said Hart. "Kids think they have to score 18 points a game to keep their average up and impress the college coaches. But this is a team that is team-first and about winning first."
Fields is planning on attending prep school in Connecticut for a year before starting at Fairfield in the fall of 2010.
"It’s an awesome thing for him," said Hart. "He’s really come a long way after putting in a lot of hard work."

The Cadets take on Newburgh Free Academy Sunday afternoon at the Knickerbocker Arena in a Coaches vs Cancer event. Tip-off for that game is slated for 5:15 p.m. and Bishop Maginn will entertain the Kangaroos from Boys & Girls High School prior to the Academy game. All proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society.

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