Michael Hatfield could always knock down the 3.
Even during his days at Manteca High, when he was a 6-foot-6, 205-pound senior some two years ago.
He got even better since then.
Hatfield, who will continue his basketball career at Cal State Dominguez Hills, has since blossomed into a 6-8, 240 forward, playing one year at Modesto Junior College after spending the previous year as a “gray shirt.”
He was back at Manteca High Thursday, inking a pact to play for the Toros under head coach Steve Becker.
Hatfield shot 43.5 percent from beyond the arc, according to MJC assistant coach Jordan Jones. In his one year with the Pirates, he averaged 11.3 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
“I’m no longer the biggest player on the court,” said Hatfield, contrasting his days from MHS to now.
Pirates head coach Paul Brogan said that his “stretch-four” forward made huge strides in the past two years.
“He was part of our rebuilding process,” Brogan said. “Not only was he a good player but he was a good person, too.”
Hatfield will again be part of a rebuilding process.
Dominguez Hills, under first-year head coach Becker – he was interim coach during the 2013-14 season – finished last season at 4-16 in California Collegiate Athletic Association play, 10-18 overall. This is the same league as Stanislaus, East Bay and Monterey Bay.
“He’s tough to guard,” said Brogan. “He plays a strong inside game but he can also knock down the 3.”
Hatfield shared his special signing day back at the MHS library alongside his mother and stepfather Deanna and Larry Diggs, father Michael Hatfield, brother Brad Hatfield, and Jones and Brogan.
To contact reporter Vince Rembulat, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.