2013-2014 Player Profile: Luke Fischer

With the start of college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next month. Today, we look at freshman Luke Fischer.

Before he has even stepped onto the court for a game as an Indiana Hoosier, Indiana coach Tom Crean has referred to freshman center Luke Fischer as a “year-round winner.”

Crean’s bold critique is justified, though: In Fischer’s final two years of high school basketball at Germantown (Wis.), he led his team to a 56-0 combined record and back-to-back state titles.

Now, the 6-foot-11, 230-pound Fischer is on the defending Big Ten champion squad. And though there certainly is no expectation he will come in and immediately help IU to an undefeated season, his winning experience will certainly help, according to Crean.

“He’s played in a lot of big games at the high school level,” Crean said at his “State of the Hoosier Nation” address on Oct. 2. “He knows what it takes. He knows how to score. He’s not afraid. He comes in there and battles.”

Fischer, indeed, has battled since he arrived at IU. Cody Zeller’s departure left a void for significant playing time at center. And over the offseason, Fischer has already proven himself to be a valuable asset to the team.

As Crean said, he’s not afraid. Fischer has become a rim presence and can both score and rebound with efficiency. He has a high basketball IQ, too, much like his predecessor at IU.

By no means is he flashy, but Fischer’s strength and experience gives him an immediate upside.

“He’s got toughness,” Crean said. “And we’re gonna need him. We’re gonna need him.”

In the early weeks of 2013 practice, though, the Hoosiers will be without Fischer. During a scrimmage the week of Sept. 26, Fischer went for a rebound but instead got injured, suffering a sprained left shoulder.

This past Friday at Hoosier Hysteria, Crean said Fischer was still “a few weeks” from returning. Though it’s not ideal that Fischer will miss most of preseason practice, he’s already learning.

He gained 15 pounds since he arrived on campus, filling some of his 6-11 frame. He’s improved his physicality, too, he says.

And when he gets back to full health, Fischer will bring something the Hoosiers need on the court.

“You’ve just got to be aware of everything that’s going on,” Fischer said at Indiana’s Media Day. “I think I’m just being more physical in the paint area, knowing that I’m going to be pushed around and have to push back. Just have to be able to lower my shoulder and protect the rim more.”

Bottom line: Fischer’s preseason injury might slow his start to the season, but he brings the skillset at center to potentially get significant playing time from day one. Zeller’s departure leaves Indiana without a starting center, and Fischer could be in position fill that spot once he gets to full health.

Quotable: “There’s not going to be any, ‘well, let’s compare him to Cody Zeller’ type of things. There’s certain things that Cody did that we want him to do. There’s also some things that he does that took a while for Cody to get. So we’re not going to do any of the comparison part. We’re just going to really let Luke Fischer be the best Luke Fischer that he can be as a freshman.” — Crean at “State of the Hoosier Nation”

Previously: Noah VonlehDevin Davis, Stanford Robinson, Troy Williams, Collin Hartman

(Photo credit: Matthew Newman of Germantownnow.com)

  • WestCoast Hoosier

    Height fluctuates for these guys like the ball in a magician’s cups and ball routine.

    Here, it varies even by paragraph! The poor guy starts the story 6’11” but shrinks to 6’10” after a few sentences.

    I fear to look again, lest I see him hiding under his hat, totally shrunken like the witch in the Wizard of Oz.

    There is a federal truth in lending law. How about a similar law regarding basketball players’ height?

  • Jamie

    Hahahahahaha!!!! Love this. So true.

  • N71

    Let’s say he’s 6’10” 230 lb, that’s big enough to hold your ground. I could see a 3 man rotation with 2 always on the court in Noah, Luke, and Hanner. All being so young foul trouble will surely be a major issue for us so throw in Peter when in a pickle. This will surely be interesting to watch, with Yogi, Will, and Jeremy we know what we’re getting, as for Luke or Hanner, who knows at this point. These are often some of the most interesting things to watch, the evolution of a young player you’re hoping the best for.

  • Gregory Spera

    Since Indiana’s official roster only lists two centers, and the other one is Peter Jurkin, Luke is going to be the most important freshman, IMHO.

  • HoosierGrampy

    Unless Hollowell gets his head together and uses his skill set better, I think we’ll be seeing more of Troy Williams and Devin Davis on the court.

  • CheesyHoosier

    I’ll be surprised if Luke doesn’t start the majority of games at center. He’ll play 5, Noah the 4, Then Jeremy, Will, and Yogi. First three off the bench: Troy, Stan, Evan. Luke will have some good games, but Noah will put up the numbers.

  • SCHoosier

    I’m convinced Luke is the real deal..just hoping he has a chance to show it and does not earn his “letter” in the training room before he does on the b-ball court. ):Outstanding kid who is smart enuff to adapt to whatever role is required.

  • MisterSlippery

    I have Troy over Jeremy. I still feel like Jeremy needs some time to get comfortable.

  • sarge

    This guy might have the most skills on both ends of any potential center on our roster. His size alone will be valuable this season and hopefully he develops more as he gets healthy. Great winner, great recruit.

  • Kenneth234

    Sorry, but I think there is a good chance that Peter makes it on the floor quite a bit this season. He is going to block some shot, get some put backs, rebound pretty well and help keep the Hoosiers away from a size deficit this season.

  • Snookafly

    He’ll be that important if he’s good enough to start in Big Ten play, but we have to wait and see if he can handle it. We’ve had many years when we didn’t have a true center on the court, so his listing is no guarantee he can help right away. I hope you’re right because I’d much rather see Vonleh at the 4, but as a 6’10” forward Noah might get the assignment at the 5.

  • Snookafly

    I hope Fischer turns out to be the real deal. I really like what I’ve heard of his toughness, basketball IQ, and desire to win. I just have to remind myself that for every Cody Zeller there are dozens of Richard Mandevilles and Todd Lindemans. While I don’t expect him to be Zeller, I hope he can develop into a Jeff Withey type player for us.

  • HoosierPat

    It’s too bad Luke was unable to scrimmage on Friday, because I would have really liked to see him play. I think we will see some similarities to Cody’s freshman year. But at the same time, it is important to remember he is not Cody Zeller. We can’t hold him to those same expectations or we will probably be disappointed. Bottom line: if Luke can hold his ground in B1G play, he will be a key asset to the team.

  • Sink the biznitch

    Zeller body, VO work ethic!!!

  • sghoosier

    A man who is concerned about inches tend to project his insecurities elsewhere.

    ;-)

  • hoosier1158

    If he can avoid anymore injuries, he should get a chance to play.

  • Kenneth234

    Looked pretty healthy on Friday night. Everyone is day to day!

  • Scooter

    He is not healthy, plus you must have missed the 12 inch brace on his shin.

  • PDXHoosier

    If he develops into an NBA player, I will be very surprised.

  • Snookafly

    Honestly, I would also be very surprised, but here’s hoping.

  • TJ21

    I am a big fan (not a troll) so this is not meant as negative, just help me understand:
    What has Hollowell done to deserve all the praise or credit he is getting for being a “key” player on this team? He will get the chance to play but if he doesn’t get better (more intense) I would expect after a couple of weeks to see Luke, Noah, Troy, Will and Yogi with Stan, Hanner and Evan as the rotation. Jeremy needs to step up (not shoot more) if he is to earn his playing time. I am not sure he is a good fit for this group. Just my opinion.

  • Kenneth234

    No one ever wears a brace that is not healthy enough to play now? He certainly was on the floor. Certainly he is healthier than those who did not and healthy enough to play in the scrimmage and one of the events. But he has a brace…so he can’t be healthy.

  • hoosier1158

    Maybe it is being worn to prevent an injury?

  • Warhawk

    Fischer’s alma mater Germantown High School was 56-0 during the past two seasons, not 52-0.

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