It seems like D'Shawn Fields has been strolling the hallways of Harrisonburg High forever.
And that is just fine with basketball coach Don Burgess, who is glad to have the hard-working senior for one more season.
In reality, while the 6-foot-3 forward has only been with the Blue Streaks three seasons on the varsity level, the amount of plays he’s made give him the feel of a seasoned veteran rather than just a three-year high school basketball player.
“Yeah, I know what you mean,” Fields said, with a laugh, Tuesday at practice. “It has been a while. It gives me a lot of edge, I feel like, because I know what the atmosphere is like and how it’s going to be on the court, I can help the younger guys learn it easier.”
The experience and leadership of Fields will certainly come in handy for the Harrisonburg boys basketball team this season. Despite an 0-2 start, the Blue Streaks have the depth and athleticism to be one of the top teams in the city/county this year.
“We have a lot of players on the team that know how we run things,” said Harrisonburg guard Tre Butler, who is one of eight seniors on the HHS roster this year. “We’re just trying to work together as a team and stick together. We’ve had two losses, so we’re trying to stick together and push through these tough parts so we can start winning.”
Fields is the only Blue Streak on the roster that played on varsity as a sophomore.
That year, Harrisonburg went 14-9 and reached the Virginia High School League Class 5 state quarterfinals. It was the Streaks’ first state tournament appearance since 1989.
Because of that, Burgess said he expects more out of his captain.
“It’s one of those things where my expectations are much higher for him,” Burgess said. “He’s seen a lot. We have to find a way to get him more touches. He’s very efficient and effective inside. He’s added a jumper, too. He is able to stretch the defense a little bit.”
During that sophomore season, Fields quickly carved out a role despite playing on a team filled with upperclassmen such as A.C. White, Stedman Clark and Steven Gilbert.
Last season, as a junior, he stepped into more of a leadership role alongside Josh Lichti and Christian Velker, but is now left as the lone player from the 2017-2018 squad.
“He’s a kid that doesn’t go with much fanfare,” Burgess said. “He doesn’t worry about getting attention and all of that. Those are the things that I appreciate about him. D’Shawn’s work ethic is just special. He’s different. He’s a worker, a grinder.”
With Velker and Lichti gone, Fields is Harrisonburg’s most experienced player.
After two excruciatingly close losses to start the season, Field said his leadership abilities have been put to the test as the Streaks have faced adversity.
“It’s been a little bit of an adjustment, but we’ve got a good group of guys here now,” Fields said. “They’re learning to get used to it. We’re doing pretty good so far. I’d say I’m a little bit of everything. I like to talk to the guys, but also try to lead by example.”
Last season, Fields averaged 8.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Streaks.
At 6-foot-3, he is an efficient forward and has been able to expand his game to the 3-point line after shooting a city/county-high 62 percent from the field a year ago.
“I feel like we’ll be really good,” Fields said. “We’ve got some great guys. Even though we’ve had two losses, once we get our chemistry a little better, we’ll be a good team.”
Butler said having a guy like Fields gives Harrisonburg confidence every single night.
“He’s a great leader and he helps out the new guys that haven’t been there as much as he has,” Butler said. “It’s great to have a leader that can help with every situation. At any position, he knows what he’s doing. It’s great to have a guy like that leading the way.”
With Fields now in charge, the Streaks said they feel confident about this year.
The senior captain has made it clear that one trip to a state tournament wasn’t enough.
“I just feel like those little things will help you win games,” Fields said. “My goal is to hopefully get back to states again. Doing all the little things will help get us there.”
And while it may feel like Fields is an experienced veteran that has been with the program for years, Burgess said he’d take a lot more time with his senior captain.
“He’s been there forever,” Burgess said. “Everything about him — you just enjoy coaching kids like him.”