Because Fields earned his undergraduate degree in Communications studies at UNC Wilmington with a season of athletic eligibility remaining, he was able to transfer to Tennessee and gain immediate eligibility, pending a granted NCAA waiver, without having to sit out for a full academic year.
“Joining the Vols is an incredible opportunity that I’m blessed for,” Fields said. “I’m ready to help the team in whatever capacity I can and advance far in the NCAA Tournament.
“The relationship I’ve been able to develop already with Coach Pearl and the rest of the coaches has been amazing. I felt right at home and felt like I fit in perfectly.”
Fields spent last season playing as a junior for UNC Wilmington, averaging a team-best 8.7 rebounds per game while ranking second on the squad with 10.2 points per contest. He led the team in rebounding 19 times and scoring eight times while also shooting better than 53 percent from the floor in 26 games. Fields started 25 games last season and scored a career-high 22 points in a win over VMI.
“I’m really excited about John joining our program,” Pearl said. “The fact that he already has his degree and is going to be working on his master’s speaks to his character and his priorities. He’s a terrific athlete for a man his size who blocks shots and rebounds and can score around the basket. The next step for John will be to develop his abilities on the perimeter on both offense and defense.”
Fields officially began his career as a Vol by attending second-session summer classes Monday. He is taking graduate-level courses in the Sport management concentration.
“I know the quality of our Sport management program was a real advantage for us as John was making his decision,” Pearl said. “We’ve got one of the best Sport management programs in the country.”
Before arriving in Wilmington, Fields spent two years at East Carolina, where he earned Conference USA All-Freshman honors in 2006-07. As a sophomore, he averaged 9.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game. In two seasons with the Pirates, Fields ascended all the way to second place on the school’s career blocked-shots list with 104 rejections.
Last year at UNCW, Fields set a single-game school record for rebounds with 21 against Towson. He also set a school record for blocks in a season with 59. And with Fields patrolling the low post, UNCW opponents managed just47 total dunks on the season, while he led the Seahawks with 33 slam dunks.
Fields played his prep basketball at Jack Britt High School in his hometown of Fayetteville, N.C.
He is expected to wear jersey No. 25 next season.