Gilman's Fields continues to play heads above rest

December 14, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Four years ago, Jimmy Fields walked onto the basketball court at Gilman. All 5 feet 2, 90 pounds of him. When coach Tim Holley first observed him, he said the obvious.

"I thought he was awfully small," he recalled during a practice last week.

Seven inches, 60 pounds and 1,307 points later, Fields is Gilman's all-time leading scorer, ahead of former Princeton standout Matt Eastwick, who scored 1,244 points.

"I didn't think it would turn out this good," he said. "Everything has just fallen in place and I've enjoyed my four years here."

Fields eclipsed the mark, midway through the third quarter of last Tuesday's home game with Carver with a 18-foot jumper over a defender.

At that moment, a sign appeared in the crowd of about 200 saying he had become Gilman's all-time leading scorer. There was no delay in the game for a presentation or announcement over the public address system. Just a brief standing ovation.

The moment was symbolic. Without much fanfare, Fields has been one of the area's best guards. Outside of his freshman year, when he gained notoriety for being the area's smallest varsity player, his accomplishments have gone virtually unnoticed through two consecutive losing seasons.

"I have accepted it and have worked harder to make myself better," Fields said. "I have just wanted to work hard and show people that I can play with the best."

In six games this season, Fields is averaging 22.8 points, including a season-high 33 against Carver, to go with 4.8 rebounds and 4.7 assists.

"Jimmy is a good ball player," said Lake Clifton junior guard Shawnta Rogers, a teammate of Fields on Madison Square's 13-under team that reached the national AAU championship game in 1989. "He has the smarts. He can hit the three-pointer and can penetrate. He's a good point guard."

It would have been easy for Fields to go to a prominent school like Dunbar or DeMatha, but his father, Jimmy Fields Sr., wanted more for the son he has raised since age eight.

The elder Fields, who was the coach of the national finalist 13-under team wanted to make more of a commitment toward academics than athletics. He though Gilman was the right place.

"I feel good about it," he said. "A lot of people ask why Gilman for Jimmy. Basketball has been secondary. To be prepared for making it in life has been important and that's why we decided Gilman."

His son has made that commitment . He is the vice-president of the school's athletic association, and has played football, fresh-soph lacrosse and baseball in his four years.

His hard work probably will be rewarded with a basketball scholarship to Lafayette, Loyola, Lehigh or Bucknell. Gilman's motto is: To build the mind, body and spirit. Fields has been an example of that and is appreciative of the opportunity.

"The people here are genuine," said Fields, who probably will major in communications in college. "They look out for you and give you all the help you need. The faculty, students, fans and teammates are supportive. I've never thought of leaving, I like it here."

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