It took some time for Devin Hatfield to find his footing Friday in the annual North-South All-Star Basketball Classic at South Charleston Community Center.
Who could blame him?
Hatfield spent Sunday through Friday last week on the campus of his future home at West Virginia State, participating in practices leading up to Saturday’s North-South Football Classic.
Before representing Herbert Hoover a final time on the gridiron, Hatfield was back in the gymnasium, where the guard made quite an impact in the South’s 126-122 victory against the North.
Hatfield scored 23 points on 9-of-14 shooting and made a team-high four 3-pointers, while doing the bulk of his damage in the second half to provide the South with an additional 20-plus point scorer in its victory.
Fellow South guards Chandler Schmidt (Cabell Midland) and Josiah Davis (Teays Valley Christian) had 30 and 25 points, respectively.
“What was crazy was the unselfishness by everybody,” Hatfield said. “To have that many guys that are going to different colleges, and for them to share the ball and us to have three scorers with over 20 points, that was what was surprising to me.”
Of the 22 players in the all-star hoops contest, Hatfield and Tug Valley’s Ethan Colegrove were the only ones to don pads the following day and play in the football game at South Charleston High School.
It was there that the wide receiver made two key receptions totaling 29 yards on an all-important fourth-quarter scoring drive that allowed the South Cardinals to extend a 14-13 lead to a nine-point advantage en route to a 30-13 victory.
“I guess I have good genetics. My conditioning isn’t at its best, but it was good enough to get through Friday and Saturday,” Hatfield said. “I really wanted to do both, because basketball was my first love and I’m going to college to play football. I needed one last time in basketball to get a win. I had left on a loss, so it was good.”
Special senior seasons from Hatfield in both football and basketball ended earlier than he was hoping for with postseason losses to eventual state champion Fairmont Senior.
The Huskies enjoyed an unbeaten regular season and were the No. 1 seed in the Class AA football playoffs, before suffering a 30-28 defeat to a Polar Bears’ squad that was the last team any of the AA playoff field was hoping to see in the opening round. Four months later, Hoover, seeded sixth at the state tournament, fell to the Polar Bears in a Class AAA quarterfinal, 56-47.
Still, Hatfield wrapped up his senior year as a Class AA first-team all-state defensive captain after intercepting nine passes, five of which he returned for touchdowns. In addition to being a playmaker at wideout, Hatfield also made a major splash on special teams and returned four punts for touchdowns as well as one kickoff return.
Hatfield was then a Class AAA second-team all-state pick after concluding his prep basketball career with a 15.2 scoring average.
As a junior, Hatfield was a first-team all-state selection in both football and basketball, earning the nod as a defensive utility selection on the gridiron. He averaged 19.3 points that season to earn the honor for his prowess on the hardwood.
For as much as Hatfield enjoys basketball, his attention is now geared toward preparing for the start of a college football career at West Virginia State, where he will team with older brother Drew Hatfield, and where Devin Hatfield spent all of last week leading up to his final high school football game.
It was there that Hatfield participated in two practices a day, ate at the dining hall and stayed in the dorm, giving him somewhat of an idea of what life in college will be like.
“It was good to get to see what I’m going to come into in the next few months,” Hatfield said. “It was good to have that experience, especially with these guys. One of the reasons I had such confidence was the way we jelled from Sunday to now. The chemistry for only being here a week was insane.”
Hatfield was also grateful to follow Friday’s win on the hardwood with a victory on the gridiron, one that allowed the South to end the North’s five-game win streak in the series.
“I’ll remember the friendships I made and getting to rekindle some old friendships like with [Spring Valley’s] Ben Turner. I hate it for him that he hurt his knee in this game, but I’ve played AAU basketball with him since the second grade, so it was good to get to play with him when I’ve never played football with him,” Hatfield said. “Met guys like [Spring Valley’s] Ty Bartrum and Jace Caldwell and I played AAU ball with [Woodrow Wilson’s Maddex McMillen and Keynan Richardson-Cook] when I was younger. It was good to be able to play with them and go out with a win.”