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2015-16 Marquette Basketball Player Preview: #40 Luke Fischer

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The 2015-16 college basketball season is right around the corner, so let's get into the Marquette basketball roster and take a look at what to expect from each player this season. We'll be going through the players one by one, starting with the freshmen, moving on to the lone available transfer, and then wrapping up with the four returning players, going in order of average minutes played per game last season.

Last year, we made a slight adjustment as to how we look at the players' upcoming season, and it seemed to work better, so we'll stick with the same three category headings this year:

What I Think We'll See
What I Want To See
What I Don't Want To See

With that out of the way, let's dig into the returning guy who averaged the most minutes last season....

Luke Fischer

Junior - #40 - Center - 6'11" - 245 lb.

Did you know that Fischer led the four returning players in average minutes played last season?  Obviously he didn't come anywhere close in total minutes played because he didn't start til mid-December, but after that point, he became the most reliable on-court presence of the guys coming back for another go-round.

It's kind of surprising, when you think about it.  First of all, Fischer went a year without playing competitive basketball, so the chances that his stamina was going to be not quite perfect was always there.  Then, on top of that, there's always the chance that just being out of action had thrown his timing off, thus leading to silly fouls, which then leads to reduced minutes.

The last thing that might have held Fischer back was his shoulder.  Anyone who watched Marquette men's basketball last season remembers the giant contraption that Fischer wore on his left shoulder to protect it from the injury he suffered at the start of his freshman campaign at Indiana.  I can't really say for certain that I ever thought it was hindering Fischer, but at the same time, from just looking at it (it's visible in the picture at the top of the page), you can't help but think "that guy doesn't have a full range of mobility."

As it turns out, mobility wasn't the biggest issue for Fischer.  After the season was over, he had surgery on that left shoulder to finally correct the injury.  This of course leads to two obvious questions.

  1. Why didn't he get this surgery as soon as he came to Marquette since he was going to have to sit out a year anyway?
  2. Is his shoulder healthy and 100% now?

The first one I can't help you with.  That answer's probably stuck either in the head of Fischer himself, or, potentially since he was head coach at the time, stuck inside the head of former Marquette head coach Buzz Williams.  Odds are the answer was really "It's more than likely that this will just heal itself just fine after some physical therapy and rehab," and as it turns out, it didn't.

So now Fischer's zipping around without that brace on.  What does that mean?

What I Think We'll See

Well, as it turns out, if you have a shoulder that's not 100% healthy, it's not fun to smack it up against other human beings and/or get it cranked in weird directions.  From watching Fischer last year, I never got the impression of "hey, that shoulder's really bothering him," other than a few occasions where he got bent in a slightly awkward position or someone crashed into him a bit on a rebound, causing Fischer to wince.

Then I watched the four games in Europe.

Now I'm left to believe that the shoulder was REALLY hampering Fischer all of last season.  It's like he was a totally different player in Europe.  Taking the ball straight at the rim instead of relying on floaters and baby hooks, running the floor and getting fed in transition, and even finding time to find an open teammate once a game.  Whatever mental limitations he was putting on himself to avoid further discomfort with his shoulder are COMPLETELY gone.

So, to answer the question of "What do I think we'll see from Luke Fischer this season?"  We're definitely going to see the player that was a 247 Sports Composite Top 100 recruit coming out of Germantown High School.

What I Want To See

A lot was made on the Europe trip of the play of Henry Ellenson, and all of it fair.  The big man from Rice Lake averaged 21 points and eight rebounds against some mostly weak opposition in Italy and Switzerland.

But.

Did you realize that Luke Fischer averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds on the trip?

Now look.  Fischer's not averaging a double-double this coming season.  Let's not get carried away here.  But 75% of that?  13 to 14 points per game along with 7 or 8 rebounds?  That's not crazy, is it?  Fischer averaged 11/5 as a sophomore, so asking for one extra basket and two extra rebounds per game doesn't seem like all that much at all.  It especially doesn't seem like all that much when you consider the fact that Henry Ellenson's going to be out there drawing double teams, and thus leaving Fischer open for some quick and easy baskets as the game goes on.

Here's the thing, though: IF Fischer were to pull those kind of averages off.... well, I think he's a candidate for Big East Player of the Year.  Those numbers are basically what Sir`Dominic Pointer of St. John's (13.7 ppg, 7.7 rpg) put together last season, and that landed him on the all-Big East Second Team at the end of the year after finishing in the top 10 in scoring and top five in rebounding.  Once you enter the "well, I gotta put him on my ballot" territory, you've officially a candidate for Player of the Year.

What I Don't Want To See

Luke Fischer's improvement over last season is completely dependent on a surgically repaired left shoulder.  I think it's quite obvious what the thing I want to see least of all is, but there's no chance in hell that I'm going to type the "i" word out for you.