Fields small only in stature

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Fields small only in stature

By ZACH VAN HART zvanhart@beaufortgazette.com 843-986-5536
Published Friday, April 6, 2007 in The Island Packet  |  657 Words  |  sports/local

Only so much can be learned by measuring 5-foot-7 Tymaine Fields.
His tangible contributions earned him notoriety, but it's the intangible abilities that fully constructed Fields: his fearless penetration, his innate ability to contort himself in the air, his competitive desire in crucial moments.
The Beaufort High School senior point guard amassed a fair share of tangibles, too. His 18.5 points, 3.1 assists, 2.7 steals and 50 3-pointers were team highs for the second straight season and made Fields the Island Packet-Beaufort Gazette 2007 Area Boys Basketball Player of the Year. Add it up and Fields completed one of the more memorable seasons in recent Eagles history.
"I think Tymaine is one of the best point guards in the state," Beaufort coach Bruce Beasley said. "He was one of the more productive and all-around guards I've ever coached."
He certainly was one of the most gutsy. Having been the shortest player on the court since he first donned high-tops, Fields learned to use his height -- or lack thereof -- to his advantage.
"I'm not afraid to go into the lane with the big trees," he said.
Though a dangerous outside shooter, Fields generated more production with penetration. He routinely sliced through tiny seams in the defense, and once there, would either shoot by twisting and turning to avoid taller defenders or pass outside to guards Tyrell Smalls or Jarrod Smith on the wing, or inside to centers Gary Gaskins or Devin Taylor. His moves were so instinctive, so natural, that during a photo shoot after the season he struggled to recreate his fluttering leaps into the lane.
His style never changed, no matter the magnitude of the moment or the size of the opponent. With the game on the line, he wanted to make the play -- any play.
"He almost had a cocky aura about him," said Beasley. "He was one of those players when we needed something, he wouldn't mind going for it. Tymaine attacked the challenge."
He could shoot outside, too, as evidenced by his hitting a 3-pointer in 22 of 23 games. To watch a Fields 3 is like an instructional video: He jumps straight up, keeps his elbow at a 90-degree angle, extends his arm on release and puts plenty of follow-through spin on the ball. He hit six 3s against Jasper County in December and three in the final 2 1/2 minutes against Summerville in January as the Eagles overcame a late 12-point deficit for a miraculous win.
Defensively, Fields' quick hands led to numerous steals, but his awareness and timing were his best assets. Trailing by two against Goose Creek with two minutes remaining in overtime, Fields snuck behind a Gators ballhandler at halfcourt, stole the ball and scored an uncontested layup. The play swayed momentum and propelled Beaufort to the win.
During the season finale against rival Battery Creek, Fields impeded a driving Chris Thomas and slapped the ball away in the final moment to preserve a one-point victory. These plays were a common occurrence.
"A lot of people told me, 'I didn't expect that defense from you,' " said Fields.
There was another unexpected side of Fields this season -- a joyful kid who expressed himself by wearing Christmas socks for every December game and never wasting an opportunity to throw a crowd-pleasing alley-oop.
"He told me if I set a pick, roll real fast so he could put on a show," said junior center Gaskins, the dunking recipient of many of those passes.
Fields plans to continue the show at Francis Marion University or Louisburg (N.C.) College, where he may play football and basketball. His coach knows this much: Fields' superlatives are leaving town.
"This year he really developed into a complete, overall player," said Beasley. "He's a type of player you won't replace. We won't be able to replace him. He played like a college senior."