Indiana transfer Luke Fischer picks Marquette

NCAA Basketball: Kennesaw State at Indiana

THE BREAK:

BACKGROUND CHECK:

Luke Fischer is a freshman center who was previously enrolled in the Indiana Hoosiers program. The 6’11, 230-pound Wisconsin native was a 4-star recruit at Germantown High School, and had previously considered Indiana, Creighton, Marquette, Boston College and Iowa as his initial college choices. In high school, Fischer consistently produced double-doubles and was a tremendous scorer and above-average shot-blocker after vastly improving between his junior and senior years. As a senior, Fischer won Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball award over a handful of outstanding players, including Marquette’s own Duane Wilson. In that year, Fischer averaged 21.5 PPG and 10 RPG for Germantown HS and was the 34th-ranked recruit in ESPN’s Top 100 of 2013. That would’ve made him the second-highest ranked recruit of Marquette’s 2013 class to Jajuan Johnson, who was 27th. For further comparison, Deonte Burton was 39th and Duane Wilson was 53rd.

His strengths, per ESPN Recruiting, are listed as being a “long, athletic, mobile post player” with “good size and great upside.” The scouting report also indicates that he “runs the floor well on a consistent basis,” can make plays from the high-post area (15-foot jumpers or one/two dribble drive), can shoot over post players with his length and has “good hands that he uses to finish drop off passes above the rim. They also label him as a “true post player” and “lane clogger that plays with good energy and urgency.”

The same scouting report indicates that he needs to build strength to handle physical post play, hone his back-to-the-basket moves, rebound more to his size, and generally be a more consistent producer.

Indiana coach Tom Crean even compared Fischer to former IU standout Cody Zeller in this quote:

“The comparisons that I would give Luke to Cody is this: their approach is very, very similar… their demeanor, their ability to figure things out and not get rattled is [also] very, very similar,” Crean said when Fischer was a senior in high school. “I would say at the same age there is a somewhat similar skill set. He can play with his back to the basket, he can play facing up. We’re excited about him.”

Here’s Luke Fischer’s senior season highlight tape, shot by Midwest Ballers:

INDIANA CAREER:

Fischer’s career at Indiana obviously didn’t go as planned, as his short tenure was riddled with injuries and limited playing time. After spraining his shoulder in a preseason scrimmage, the freshman center missed weeks of valuable practice time. He never truly got a chance to prove himself in games either, likely due to a combination of inexperience and injury recovery. However, despite only receiving an average of 10 minutes per game, Fischer still averaged 2.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game, all while shooting an efficient 55% from the field and 77% from the line. These may seem like pedestrian numbers, but if you align them with his limited minutes, they’re actually very efficient, especially considering the fact that he’s only a freshman and sat out injured for quite some time.

Fischer began to rack up more minutes and stats towards the end of Indiana’s non-conference schedule (12.75 MPG, 11-17 FG, 65% FG%, 6 PPG, 2.75 RPG in four of last five games), but considering that it came against the likes of North Florida, Kennesaw State, Nicholls State, and Oakland, this uptick in usage and numbers was most likely due to the opponent than anything else.

Another reason Fischer received limited playing time was that Crean chose to deploy fellow freshman center Noah Vonleh underneath the hoop instead. Both were talented and over 6’10/230 pounds, but Vonleh was a consensus 5-star, top-15 recruit, and Fischer was more in the range of a 4-star, top-35. So while Fischer was very good, he was not nearly at the athletic level or as ready to step into a Division 1 starting lineup as soon as Vonleh was. Taking all this into consideration relative to his basketball career, Fischer decided to find a more better fit for himself, and informed Coach Crean that he was going to transfer from Indiana.

TRANSFER PROCESS:

When Fischer decided to transfer, over 25 schools reached out to him. However, he only considered Creighton, UW-Milwaukee and Marquette, excluding most schools far from home and turning down all Big 10 schools out of respect for Crean and Indiana. After six days, Fischer eventually chose Marquette, citing its proximity to home and high level of basketball and academics in this tweet:

WHAT IT MEANS FOR FISCHER AND MARQUETTE:

Fischer won’t be eligible to play until January of 2015 (or the second semester of next season), so he should be in a Marquette uniform around when conference play starts next year. He’ll be able to practice with the team starting next week, though – so while he’s doing so for about a year, he’ll have plenty of time to rest his shoulder (if it’s still not completely healed) and get acquainted with the program and his new teammates. As for playing time, Fischer should get immediate minutes upon receiving eligibility since Jamil, Davante and Otule are graduating this year. There shouldn’t be any rustiness by the time he steps on the court, especially since he’s already played 13 games for Indiana.

In fact, it seems as if Fischer is the only 2014 Marquette big without a question mark beside his name. Seriously, a freshman transfer looks to be, as of now, our most reliable option down low next year. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it speaks negatively about the status of the rest of Marquette’s bigs. The problem doesn’t lie in terms of talent or potential, but more in the ugly combination of need and inexperience. With so many young centers and power forwards that need to be developed, many may be forced to play a larger role than they should – which would simply make the team worse and create bad habits for these young players. But more importantly, having too many young frontcourt players could hurt the team’s chances at landing Diamond Stone. With centers Fischer and Pierce on board for 2014 onwards, and with Steve Taylor signed from now until 2016, one might assume Diamond Stone’s interest in Marquette could’ve only gone down with these latest commitments. 247 Sports, among others, currently had MU as his frontrunner – but having two big-bodied centers signed in this year’s recruiting class, and having another solid big in Taylor (who will be a senior during Diamond’s freshman year), it’s going to be a lot harder to convince the top-10 recruit that this is the best place to go. I’m sure you could go with the “we’ll have the best frontcourt in the country” argument, but that just creates a lot of questions with minutes distribution. And if I’m a top-10 recruit, I don’t want to go to a school where I could potentially have problems with minutes, regardless of how long I want to stay in school. Let’s just hope Buzz can solve all these problems by pulling some more recruiting magic out of his sleeve.

Fischer will not be on scholarship this semester, but he’ll take the 13th and final scholarship when he’s eligible. This puts 2014 commit Malek Harris, who has yet to sign his letter of intent, in a position where his future at Marquette may be in limbo. Harris has not signed his letter of intent yet due to off-court issues that have twice gotten him suspended from his high school team. Stay tuned for whether he decides to commit elsewhere or not.

All in all, Fischer is a Golden Eagle, assuring Marquette of a solid frontcourt for both next year and those to come. Follow our Twitter account for updates on Fischer during this coming “dead period” before he can actually step on the court. But as of now, let’s simply congratulate him on his commitment and be glad he’s part of the program.

Welcome to the Daily Eagle – a blog and twitter feed of all things Marquette basketball. Follow us on Twitter at @Daily_Eagle for live updates on recruiting, games, facts, and the more-than-occasional opinion. For inquiries, contact us at dailyeagle@yahoo.com.

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