With all the hype surrounding the arrival of Luke Fischer, one would have thought he was the number one prospect in the country. For a team like the Marquette Golden Eagles (5-4), who lacks any form of height, adding the 6 foot 11 sophomore had as much of an impact.
On Tuesday night, Fischer made his long-awaited Marquette debut and quickly won over the 12,736 fans in attendance.
While he did not start the game, Fischer checked in early in the first half and began to display why he was a top one hundred recruit coming out of high school.
Showing polished post moves, coupled with a killer defensive instinct, the sophomore impressed on both ends of the floor. As the Arizona Sun Devils (6-4) started to create early momentum, a defense with Fischer in the middle forced four straight turnovers. These disruptions on the defensive end helped the Golden Eagles score 20 fast break points thanks to their impressive guard tandem of Duane Wilson and Jajuan Johnson.
That is what was the most impressive about Fischer’s debut. Not only did the big man score 19 points, but he made every single player around him better, in route to a 78-71 victory. His nine rebounds helped Marquette only lose the rebounding battle by 2 (34-32). For a team that has struggled to rebound all season long, Fischer instantly boosted their ability to limit the number of second chance points that the Sun Devils were able to generate.
While coming one rebound shy of a double-double is impressive, it is how the offense ran smoothly for the first time all season with Fischer a part of it, that caught the eye of many. Johnson was able to quietly score 22 points and Wilson chipped in 19 of his own. There was a rhythm surrounding the offense that has not been there so far this season. That is what separates average big men from the elite.
Most forces down low focus on padding the stat sheet. They believe that scoring and rebounding are the only two areas where they can contribute to the team’s success. Fischer on the other hand was the catalyst the offense was lacking all season, by contributing in ways that did not show up in the scoresheet.
Due to his early dominance in the game, the Sun Devils were forced to double-team Fischer, which opened up shots for Johnson and Wilson. His ability to effectively execute a high ball screen opened up lanes for the guards to utilize, which led to easy lay-ups.
“Terrific performance by Fischer. He impacted the game in many ways” exclaimed Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski.
Fischer’s performance was indeed spectacular, but it was not perfect.
At times on defense, Fischer would put his weight on the wrong side of the defender, which allowed his opponent to execute a rather effortless post move for an easy bucket. The Indiana University transfer also was beat off the dribble a number of times by the Sun Devils’ speedy guards.
While there is room for improvement, Fischer’s overall stellar performance showcased his ability to be a star in the game moving forward.
“I think Fischer will be a fantastic player” stated Arizona State head coach Herb Sendek after the game.
Marquette is hoping that Fischer will indeed build off of his performance and become a dynamic force down low. Paired up with incoming freshman Henry Ellenson, the Golden Eagles just may have one of the best big men duo in the country. See, there are positives to take out of this rebuilding season.