Joe Fields did not know of Quincy Carter when he arrived at Atlanta Sports Academy last fall.
Carter helped coach football and baseball at the prep school and Fields, a former Battery Creek baseball player, searched the name on the Internet to learn of the troubled former professional baseball and football player.
In time, Fields said, he and Carter grew close.
"We developed a big brother, little brother relationship," Fields said of Carter, who struggled with drugs and alcohol after being selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 2001 NFL Draft. "He knows what he went through. And he didn't want me to go down that road."
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Fields' work in Atlanta led to an appearance at a Florida camp, where he caught the eye of coaches at LeMoyne-Owen College, an NCAA Division II school in Memphis. Fields participated in a tryout in January, playing infield, outfield and pitching the final two innings of a scrimmage. Magicians coach Stanley Stubbs made him an offer that day.
"He just told me I'm a good ball player," Fields said. "He wouldn't mind having me on the team. He liked my game and how I play."
After hitting .318 as a senior at Battery Creek, Fields was head to USC Salkahatchie. But he was convinced to attend Atlanta Sports Academy to preserve his college eligibility and land an offer somewhere else.
Fields said Magicians coaches want him to play shortstop and pitch, both of which he did at Battery Creek. The Magicians finished 5-25 in 2011 and 2-21 in conference play. But the program is on the rise, Fields said.
"That's a part of why I signed there," he said. "I feel like I'm a guy who can help the program. They're only missing a few pieces."
The Memphis locale also drew Fields. He likes that the city is 10 minutes from campus and that the Memphis Redbirds, the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, play a short drive away.
Name: Joe Fields
High school: Battery Creek
High school coach: Daniel Tooman
College: LeMoyne-Owen College
Probable major: Computer technology
About LeMoyne-Owen: The NCAA Division II school is a historically black college in Memphis, Tenn. The Magicians compete in the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, finishing 5-25 overall in 2011, and 2-21 in conference play.
Why LeMoyne-Owen? "The team, they're all together. No one player," Fields said. "They're in a rebuilding process. As they're rebuilding, they're coming together."
Other high school sports played: None
Accolades: All-region selection at Battery Creek in 2009 and 2010