Guard Brandon Fields has always enjoyed playing basketball in Boise. During his college days at Nevada, Fields looked forward to the Wolfpack’s annual trips to play Boise State — and the chance to chow down at one of his favorite restaurants.
“I was always excited to come to Boise because they had a Chick-fil-A,” Fields said. “But I never knew it was such a nice city to live in. I really like it here. I enjoy the coaching staff, I enjoy the people, and it’s really a good atmosphere.”
After overseas stops in Romania, Morocco and Hungary, Fields has found a professional basketball home in the City of Trees. Since joining the Stampede last season, Fields has been one of Idaho’s most consistent performers, averaging 15 points and 5 assists per game.
“He’s a great scorer,” fellow point guard Phil Pressey said. “He can shoot it, he can drive it and he’s also a great playmaker. He wants to win every single night, and you can really see that in the way he plays.”
Pressey, who is back in Boise after an NBA stint with the Philadelphia 76ers, has been a big help to Fields as he pursues his own NBA call-up. The two push each other in practice, and Fields has learned some valuable tips from watching his diminutive teammate.
“Phil’s always low to the ground, which makes it easier for him to drive and penetrate,” the 6-foot-4 Fields said. “That’s part of his game that I really try to use in mine.”
Pressey’s return also has given Idaho coach Dean Cooper an opportunity to play Fields at shooting guard. The move has been a learning experience for Fields, but it could have long-term career benefits.
“Brandon’s done a good job of accepting and adjusting to playing off the ball,” Cooper said. “It’s been different for him because he’s used to having the ball in his hands, but the way basketball is being played these days, with so many combo positions, having some versatility is key.”
Idaho returns from the NBA D-League Showcase this week to host the Santa Cruz Warriors (7 p.m. Tuesday) and the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (7 p.m. Thursday). The Stampede are on the outside of the playoff picture, but high-scoring guard Pierre Jackson rejoined the team last week, and Fields believes more wins are on the way.
“It’s a long season,” Fields said. “We’re a long way from being out of it, and we have to keep working hard to achieve our team goals.”
Meanwhile, Fields continues to work toward his personal goal of an NBA call-up — with a little friendly advice from a backcourt partner who knows what it takes.
“I tell him the key is to keep playing the game the right way,” Pressey said. “NBA teams aren’t looking for guys to come in and dominate — they pay guys $50 million to do that. So it’s more about looking at what you can do that other guys don’t do to affect the game. That’s what will make you stand out.”
Stampede home for two
- This week: Santa Cruz Warriors on Tuesday, and Rio Grande Valley Vipers on Thursday
- Tipoff: Both games start at 7 p.m., at CenturyLink Arena
- Radio: 630 AM
- Tickets: CenturyLink Arena box office, centurylinkarenaboise.com or 388-4667.