Fields making his way back for Nevada
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer
This is like a freshman season all over again for Brandon Fields, who is trying to work his way back into Nevada’s lineup.
Fields, who was reinstated last week for the Oregon State game after being arrested for petty larceny on Oct. 15 and later being cleared, will play his third game of the season tonight when Nevada visits Portland in a nonconference game at the Chiles Center (7 p.m.).
Fields has played 29 minutes in the previous two games, including 24 in the Pack’s 67-59 loss to Pacific. He is averaging 4.5 points and 2.5 rebounds per contest.
“I felt a little bit better, (this time)” said Fields, who scored seven points and pulled down five rebounds against Pacific. “I should have played defense harder and I need to rebound harder. It will come.”
It started to come against Pacific. Fields’ five straight points in the first half gave Nevada a 14-11 lead. His last basket of the game with 10:48 remaining cut Pacific’s lead to 42-36.
Fields looked much better against Pacific than he did against Oregon State. When he gets to 100 percent, it will make Nevada deeper as a team and much more proficient offensively. Fields shot the 3-pointer extremely well last season, and Nevada could use some perimeter shooting.
The hometown fans have been extremely receptive to Fields, and that’s helped his return. After the charges were dropped, Fields and Fox made a pact, and Fields didn’t get to play until he had satisfied them all.
“It was tough waiting,” Fields said. “It was a learning experience for me. I’m a better person. I’ve matured a lot.
“My teammates supported me and the coaches supported me through the whole situation. Having the fans behind me was a big boost. It helped my confidence a lot.”
Nevada can use all the maturity Fields can bring. This is a team that needs leadership badly, and Fields, being a returning starter, should be able to provide some experience and leadership. Fields averaged 12.4 overall and 14.0 in conference games.
“He’s behind because he missed significant practice time,” Nevada coach Mark Fox said. “He’s really matured. I’m proud of him.”
Notes: Portland has opened the season with a 3-1 mark and won its last two games, including a 77-58 home victory over Yale and a 75-72 win at UC Davis … Nik Raivio is averaging 17.8 a game for the Pilots, while Robin Sheulders is averaging 15 a game. T.J. Campbell is the third Pilot in double figures at 10.8 a game … Portland is shooting 51 percent from the floor … Portland found out Thursday that it had been invited to play in the 76 Classic in Anaheim.
– Contact Darrell Moody at email@example.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281
NEVADA (2-2) AT PORTLAND (3-1)
When: Tonight, 7 p.m
Where: Chiles Center
TV/Radio: None/ESPN Radio 630AM, pre-game at 6:30 p.m.
Series: Portland leads the series 22-18
Probable starters: NEVADA F Luke Babbitt (15.5, 8.7), Malik Cooke (11.5, 6.8); G Lyndale Burleson (5.8, 1.8), Armon Johnson (11.0, 4.5), Joey Shaw (11.5, 4.8); PORTLAND C Kramer Knutson (7.8, 2.0); F Robin Sheulders (15.0, 5.5), Ethan Niedermeyer (9.3, 2.5); G Nik Raivio (17.8, 6.5), T.J. Campbell (10.8, 3.5)
Moody’s prediction: Portland 63, Nevada 60