When Caleb Fields steps into battle, his focus is laser-sharp. An introspective player, the graduate student guard is aware that he must immerse himself in the heat of the game. His inner fire is fueled by his competitive spirit, which allowed him to set the court aflame on Jan. 7. 

Fields’ light was shining bright as he led the Stags to a victory against Marist College, securing an 82-61 win. Fields managed to add two accolades to his lengthy list of athletic accomplishments, netting his 1,000th career point and tying the program record with 10 three-pointers. 

His focus never falters. Fields’ friends and family were anticipating his eclipse of the 1,000-point mark, but he remains locked in the present. Fields admitted that he was unaware of the three-point record, which was set by Landon Taliaferro ‘20 in 2019. He recalled a conversation with Graduate Assistant Chuck Assetta, who approached him during a timeout toward the end of the game. 

“Chuck came up to me and was like, ‘I have to tell you something,’” Fields described. “Then he said, ‘You know what? Nevermind.’ I got an idea that I was close to the record, but I think he didn’t want to tell me because he didn’t want to jinx it.” 

Fields, though, strays away from superstition. His pregame ritual is undefined, as he grounds himself in his religion rather than relying on luck. Fields attributes his recent success to his faith. By reading the Bible and engaging in daily prayer, he finds peace within his demanding schedule as a student-athlete 

“I’ve been through depression and anxiety,” Fields disclosed. “Believe it or not, I’m actually very open about that. My faith helps me overcome everything that I’m going through.” 

By prioritizing his own mental health, Fields is able to extend his energy to support his teammates. As the transfer portal has created shifts within the roster, his experience allows him to serve as a mentor to players entering the program. 

“The guys call me the ‘OG,’” Fields shared. “I see the young guys doing things I’ve experienced and already done. So, I try to guide them in the right direction.” 

When asked about his greatest asset as a basketball player, Fields could have defaulted to technical skills: whether that be his defensive finesse or his ability to drain a free throw. Instead, he expressed gratitude for his innate leadership qualities. 

“People always gravitate towards me and I lead by example,” Fields revealed.  “I always motivate people to play for themselves. People always say, ‘play for your brother.’ But, if you can’t play for yourself, how are you going to play for someone else?”  

His mentality is influenced by his older sister, Lauryn Fields. After a game against the University of New Hampshire, Lauryn called Fields to initiate a candid conversation. 

“I scored zero points,” Fields started. “But, she didn’t call because I scored zero points. It was because I was not interested in the game. I was just going through the motions. I was coming back from my hamstring injury, but that’s not the excuse. ” 

Lauryn prompted Fields to reconsider his intentions and long-term career goals. She asked him to think about whether he truly wanted to play basketball, or if he would be satisfied working a nine-to-five. This moment of self-reflection allowed Fields to reclaim his passion for the sport, creating a newfound sense of purpose that catalyzed his subsequent success.

Birima Seck ‘25 affirmed the undeniable impact of Fields’ leadership. As a transfer student from the University of New Mexico, Seck underscored the role that Fields’ kindness played in easing his transition to Fairfield. 

“He helped me to adjust quickly to everything since I was here, which allowed me to be able to stay at Fairfield,” Seck said. 

Seck suffered an ankle sprain at the beginning of the season, which made it difficult to navigate campus. So, Fields stepped in. 

“When I was hurt, he would drive me to practice and make sure I stayed involved with the team,” Seck remarked. “I remember every time that I have been hurt or wanted to quit. He would come up to me personally to say, ‘Get up, bro. Let’s go, man.’” 

Alexis Yetna, a graduate student hailing from France, contributed to the discussion. He commented on the pride he possesses for Fields, as his success is an extension of his overall character. 

“I was happy for him because it’s a hard thing to do,” Yetna exclaimed. “People don’t always make it to that stage. So, for him to be able to achieve that milestone speaks volumes to his work ethic through the years.”  

Before joining the Stags, Yetna played for Seton Hall and suffered an injury that sidelined him for nearly two years. Fields has played a crucial role in uplifting both Seck and Yetna throughout the 2023-24 season. 

“When we got hurt, he was basically like a trainer and manager for us,” Seck said. “He was taking us everywhere every day. And that’s when he was hurt, too. It was super easy to adapt and then it translated to the floor because of the relationship we all have.” 

Their team dynamic was unshaken by an unexpected staffing change, which occurred two weeks before the season’s start. Coach Chris Casey was selected as the interim head coach, prompting a transition marked by drastic changes and genuine love. 

“We had to catch up to the play style,” Fields noted.  “You’re throwing like eight to nine weeks’ worth of information at us to get ready for the season within two weeks. But, we got into the flow of everything. Coach Casey trusts us and we trust him.”

This trust has enabled the team to rise to the top of the MAAC rankings, sitting in the second spot just below Quinnipiac. Yetna, who returned to the court on Feb. 8, is confident in the continued growth as the championship looms closer.  

“I’m very excited because I feel like we are nowhere near our full potential and we are one of the most dangerous teams in the MAAC,” Yetna declared. “We can win in so many different ways. When we get to March and have our full strength, we will be at a level where nobody will be able to [mess] with us.”

Moving forward, Fields has his sights set on the MAAC Championship and the NCAA tournament. He will continue to live fearlessly in each moment, following the wise words of his coach. 

Fields concluded, “One thing Coach Casey always says is, ‘Tomorrow is never promised.’ Whether you’re in practice or the classroom, why not give it 100%?”

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