If you've been around Anonymous Eagle long enough, you've noticed our yearly player preview series for men's basketball. In the past, we've gone with a concept of "Minimum Expectations/In Our Wildest Dreams/In Our Worst Nightmare" model for what the baseline for each player is for the coming season, plus where we think they could achieve or lag behind.
With new head coach Steve Wojciechowski running the show, things get a little complicated. It's hard to have minimum expectations for each player when we really don't know how Wojo will see fit to use them in the system that he's running... which we also don't know a lot about at this point.
So we're changing the system up. We're deploying a new set of criteria to preview each player:
- What I Think We'll See
- What I Want To See
- What I Don't Want To See
It's a little more open ended, so there's a bit more freedom to explore what we're thinking about each guy. This might stick around going forward, so be sure to either email us - firstname.lastname@example.org - or comment on the posts to let us know what you think.
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I'm trying to figure out how Luke Fischer ended up at Indiana in the first place. The 6'11" sophomore went on an unparallelled run at Germantown (WI) High School, winning two consecutive state titles in his final two years, and those teams never lost a single game, going 56-0. Fischer was Wisconsin's Mr. Basketball in 2013 and was ranked #34 in the country by ESPN. How did both Wisconsin and Marquette not manage to secure his services?
The answer that's most likely to pop to your mind is that Fischer was being recruited by Indiana, and it's hard to resist the lure of that kind of historic program, as Marquette fans know all too well. The second answer is that Fischer originally thought that he wanted to go to college a few states away from home. Between an early season injury, Noah Vonleh taking up a majority of the minutes at center, and perhaps the siren song of home, Fischer elected to transfer at semester and he ended up paying his own way at Marquette for a semester under Buzz Williams. Being in Milwaukee was more important to Fischer than whoever his coach was, so when Steve Wojciechowski was hired, Fischer stayed on board.
Fischer appeared in 13 games for the Hoosiers and while he only accounted for 10% of the minutes in those games, he was remarkably efficient according to KenPom.com, posting an offensive rating of 115.8. He had a knack for grabbing offensive rebounds and getting a putback, with 35% of his made baskets for Indiana coming that way. He was a little foul prone, but as he only played more than 10 minutes in five of his 13 contests, it's hard to say that he was ever really comfortable on the floor.
What I Think We'll See
At first, nothing at all. Fischer is not eligible to play in Marquette's eight games due to NCAA transfer restrictions. MU rather craftily did not schedule the traditional "Saturday after finals week" game this season in order to make sure that grades from first semester can be properly filed so Fischer can be eligible for one extra game.
His first game will come on Tuesday, December 16, at home against Arizona State, and he'll get three games against teams ranked higher than #260 in the preseason KenPom rankings in order to get his legs underneath him before Big East play starts on New Year's Eve. Fischer's going to get all the minutes he can handle in those games in order to get Marquette used to playing with him. Depending on how successful Marquette has been at executing the game plan in their first eight games where the 6'7" Steve Taylor is MU's tallest player, Fischer's playing time will depend on how well he can blend into the mix. Because of his height, I expect that he'll go straight into the starting lineup, but from there, it's up to him.
What I Want To See
The last time Luke Fischer played an official NCAA game, he scored 10 points on 4-5 shooting, grabbed two rebounds, blocked three shots, and even dished an assist in 19 minutes. I want to see this blown out to at least 25 minutes a game, so that would be 15 points, and five rebounds, give or take. But there is a note of hesitation to my expectation: That game was against Kennesaw State, who finished 2013-14 ranked #336 on the KenPom charts. The Owls had just two players over 6'8" on the roster, so it might have been an easier time than you'd want to see to take anything real away from that game. Still, with so little height on Marquette's roster, the minutes are there for the taking for Fischer, and all he has to do is show that he belongs.
What I Don't Want To See
Marquette is going to be in a lot of trouble this season if Fischer can't show that he belongs on the court. The Big East schedule is littered with guys clearing 6'10" on the measuring tape: Matt Stainbrook, Tommy Hamilton, Joshua Smith, Carson Desrosiers, Chris Obekpa, Daniel Ochefu, Will Artino, just to name a few of the best. While it may be a transition season for the Golden Eagles, league contests could turn into a half court bludgeoning if Fischer isn't out there to provide a stopper threat in the middle. He will need to play reliable defense, and it appears that for Steve Wojciechowski, that means pressing after made baskets. If Fischer can't contribute in that regard, even if it's just as the guy getting all the way back to prevent a breakout bucket, then it's going to set back the whole team's efforts.