Transfer Fischer should offer Marquette a unique dimension starting next season

Landing a four-star recruit from the class of 2013 -- in Indiana transfer Luke Fischer -- is a major coup for Marquette's basketball program.

Maggie Bean

MILWAUKEE — Just 13 games into his freshman season, Luke Fischer had made up his mind: Indiana University wasn’t the place for him. Be it homesickness or not, Marquette is certainly glad he chose to transfer to play for the Golden Eagles.

Fischer, who chose Marquette over UW-Milwaukee and Creighton, officially started classes Monday and has begun practicing with the Golden Eagles. He’ll have to sit out the rest of this season and the first semester of next year but will be eligible to play on Dec. 14, 2014.

The Germantown, Wis. native wouldn’t divulge the exact reasons for his departure from Indiana, but says playing for coach Tom Crean and the Hoosiers "just wasn’t the right fit."

"That’s the simplest answer I can really give," Fischer said Tuesday at the Al McGuire Center. "Being back in Wisconsin is really great, only being 30 minutes from Germantown. That’s pretty much the main reason.

"(Coach Crean) respected what we had to say and I didn’t choose to go to another Big Ten school for him. To my understanding, he did not block any other Big Ten schools, but I didn’t want to go to any other one, either."

Fischer started to realize Indiana wasn’t a good fit as the season began to progress and decided not to wait the full year to transfer. Because he enrolled at Marquette before the spring semester started, Fischer can play at the end of the fall semester next year.

Landing a four-star recruit from the class of 2013 to help ease the pain of losing Davante Gardner, Chris Otule and Jamil Wilson to graduation is a major coup for Marquette.

"I’m not trying to put pressure on him, Marquette or Buzz, I do believe in Christmas," Marquette assistant coach Jerry Wainwright said. "I don’t know if I really believe in Santa Claus but in my late 60s right now, but to all of a sudden in January have a late Christmas and have a youngster like that appear (is big)."

Wainwright, who works primarily with the big men at Marquette, sees a unique skill set in the 6-foot-11 Fischer and envisions him playing both the four and five spot for the Golden Eagles. He raved about Fischer’s natural ability and went out on a limb to say people will remember him more for how good of a passer he is rather than his scoring ability.

"We’ve heard of the point forward, those guys make a lot of money," Wainwright said. "I’m not rushing Luke along, but it’s a great way to create space. The hardest position to recruit and the most necessary position to recruit in college basketball is the stretch four. If you have somebody that can guard a bigger guy but can move away from the basket to create space, it’s a great weapon.

"If you look at the good college teams, there’s a guy like Luke or with those kind of skills — obviously stronger, older, more experienced. That’s what separates good teams. I was excited to have him."

Fischer will be a sophomore when eligible next December since he’s unable to redshirt this season because he played in 13 games at Indiana. But the time available to him to improve before playing again mirrors that of a redshirt.

"I’m going to treat it like a redshirt year," Fischer said. "I’ll be in the weight room all the time, I already started doing all of that stuff. I have a lot of individual workouts I’ll be doing with coaches and then also practicing with the team. I’ll be getting everything the team is doing plus a little more with all the extra stuff.

"They threw me right in. Practice yesterday, I had to catch on real quick to all their calls and what they do with everything. I don’t think that will be a problem, I’m a quick learner."

He says he’s currently more comfortable playing with his back to the basket, but hopes working with Wainwright will allow him to become more of a complete offensive threat.

There’s going to be a lot of pressure on Fischer to perform right away because of what Marquette is losing inside, but many feel he’s quite capable.

"He will have a major impact and will have to because he has to play," Wainwright said. "To have him come in at mid-year and go through the scouting reports and everything else before he has to do it (is big). He has that advantage now of being a jumpstart ahead. He’s going to be there for our whole Big East season. I think that’s a godsend for us because kids like that have to play right away."

While Fischer can’t help Marquette on the court this season directly, Wainwright feels just having him in practice will benefit Gardner and Otule. Now those two don’t have to constantly go at each other, and Fischer gets to see what it’s like going up against grown men.

"I work with two Clydesdales, Chris and Davante," Wainwright said. "Those guys are NFL tackles. They bring a different dimension to the game. Those guys are such hard workers and horizontal space eaters. Luke probably has a little more skill development at an earlier age than both of those kids. Because of that, I think he can really push his game to a level a lot of kids couldn’t.

"His size will allow him to guard a big guy but if you have a skill package like he hopefully will have and develop, he’ll be able to stay around the basket and away from the basket. That will really, really help him in today’s game."

Fischer’s addition to the program gives the Golden Eagles three high profile in-state players from the Class of 2013 as he joins Duane Wilson and Deonte Burton. Those two have previously spoken about the importance of keeping top talent in state and adding Fischer will only help that cause.

"We all know how each other (plays)," Fischer said. "Instead of playing against each other we can actually play with each other. With all the great talent around this area, it would be great to see us come together."

Meanwhile, Wainwright is envisioning the possibilities of having a frontcourt that features Fischer, Steve Taylor Jr. and Burton.

"Nobody is down in the program on Steve, he’s really gifted," Wainwright said. "He’s behind physically just because of his injury. I think those two kids certainly, and throw in a fire hydrant like Deonte Burton, they have a long, long way to go but I think they are really compatible. I think you can do a lot of things with kids like Steve, Luke and Deonte."

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