Freshman Focus: Luke Fischer

  • 06/07/2013 11:32 am in


“Freshman Focus” is an Inside the Hall series on each of Indiana’s six incoming freshman. Over the next couple of weeks, we will examine what kind of an impact each player can have for the Hoosiers next season. Today: Luke Fischer.

It’s hard to dominate the high school game more than Luke Fischer and his Germantown teammates did in the state of Wisconsin over the last two years.

With Fischer leading the way, Germantown won 56 consecutive games and two straight state championships, winning the most recent one by a 57-28 margin.

Fischer, who will report to Bloomington later this month, scored 17 points in that game and averaged 21.3 points and 9.5 rebounds per game as a senior.

With Cody Zeller’s departure for the NBA after last season, Fischer’s arrival is even more important for Tom Crean and the Hoosiers. Fischer’s stock has risen consistently since he signed with the Hoosiers, and his game continues to improve.

“Luke is coming in looking at everything as an opportunity,” said Justin Litscher, Fischer’s AAU coach with Wisconsin Swing. “He’s gonna fill whatever role they need him to, if that’s starting or if that’s coming off the bench. I know he’s excited. If he had the choice, I think he probably would have left right after state for Indiana.”

It’s certainly too early to know, but Fischer figures to be a strong candidate to replace Zeller as Indiana’s starting center when the season begins. He’s not as tall as Zeller was — he’s listed at 6-foot-10 — but Litscher said Fischer’s strength helps him to play bigger than that.

“Luke’s really developed his lower half and his ability to just seal,” Litscher said. “Once he seals, it’s over, he’s gonna score. His lower half is so strong, and people just look at him and say, ‘He’s gotta add strength.’ But from the waist down, he’s a strong kid. I mean very strong.”

While there’s no doubt Fischer would have gained a great deal from having Zeller to learn from when he arrived on campus, there are still things Fischer brings to the table that you can’t teach. He’s a proven winner, for one, and he possesses a work ethic that rivals some of the Indiana players responsible for building the culture that’s currently in place.

“He’s got to play for us,” Crean said at Wednesday’s Tailgate Tour event at Huber Farms. “We always recruited him in the sense that you’re either going to play alongside Cody (Zeller) and back him up or you’re going to be playing for him if he’s gone. Here we are. So it’s very, very important that he can come in and contribute right away.

“He can contribute in the post, he can shoot the ball 15, 17 to 18 feet. And the biggest thing that he’s got to do is the biggest thing that Cody did. Cody got so much better defensively in a hurry. And that’s exactly what Luke’s gotta do.”

Fischer isn’t as flashy as some of the other guys in the Hoosiers’ six-man recruiting class, but he has steadily improved each year, and that figures to continue when he arrives in Bloomington. Fischer is currently ranked 34th in the 2013 class by

Litscher believes Fischer, Wisconsin’s Mr. Basketball, will join Indiana’s “365 day” group when he arrives on campus.

“One thing I’ve always said about Luke from the time I met the kid is he’s a sponge,” Litscher said. “There hasn’t been a time that I’ve seen him that I haven’t thought he got better than the last time I saw him. Literally, I saw him in Vegas as the end of our summer, thought he was better than he was the week before. And then I saw him at high school in the first week of the season, thought he was better than the last time I’d seen him. That’s just kind of the way he is. He works to get better.

“He’s really still developing, which is scary because I think he could be special.”

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  • Oldguyy

    The posters on the Wisconsin boards display nearly as much Hoosier envy as those on the Illinois or Ohio State boards, so I think it‘s telling that even they acknowledge that Fischer is really good.

  • Caleb Moore

    He’s going to play from Day 1 no doubt. We will see how Hanner and PJ have developed over the Summer (sounds like Hanner has been working, but PJ still injured) and I think that will help determine what minutes Luke will get. But I really like Luke’s future at Indiana. He has more of a post game than Cody did when he came in, but maybe isnt the athlete Zeller was if you want to try and compare. If he stays healthy, adds weight/strength, and continues along his development path I think he’ll be hearing his name called in the first round of the draft down the line. His foundation from which to build is that good.

  • SCHoosier

    It better happen with Luke..period. Too much of a weapon and too good of an opportunity to open up the middle for our slashers like Stan and Troy. TC has got to he smarter than what you are suggesting although the “what happen to Cody’s face the basket mystery” has never been solved or even admitted too.):

  • SCHoosier

    “He could be special” comment is right on. Luke is going to surprise early if TC let’s him shoot the ball facing the basket. Rating people were negative on the “weak schedule” Fischer’s team played during the season..but hell they had to beat all the big city teams in the state tournament and did so handily for two years in a row. I agree this kid is a steal and if he has the work ethic his coach suggests he does…Luke will be in the starting line up from day one.


    Totally agree, plus his high school team, due to no fault of their own, played what many considered a weak schedule, but was also consistently ranked very high the national high school rankings by more than one group. Don’t remember exactly where they ranked but I do remember being pleasantly surprised when I seen it.


    Plus if Luke’s outside shot disappears like the one CZ had did it won’t do him any favors what so ever in future when trying to recruit a big man that has a good shot from the 14 to 17 foot range. You can bet that that will be one of the first, if not the very first thing that opposing recruiters will point out to the big man.

  • Btown88

    I watched some of his video, and can see the lower body strength his coach was talking about. If Luke can add the upper body strength that Cody did, Watch out!

  • kennygeorge

    Luuuuke sets, aims, and pops another one and Indiana leads by…!!!!!!! The roar of the crowd like a roar of a lion fills Assembly Hall and Gus can’t be heard, but he is jumping up and down like all of us crazies. Yogi steals the ball, throws ahead to Will, who pops it to Noah, who flips it to Troy and he alley oops to Luuuuke who slamjamma it down for a BIGGER IU lead. Ya’ll GET MY DRIFT NOW?

  • The_Real_Assembly_Hall

    Said from the time he was committed. We are going to love this kid. Still very happy for Cody but I have to admit that I had a pretty strong desire to see both Cody and Luke in the lineup at the same time at some point. Even if it was just for a minute or two I think it would have been interesting. However, I will take Luke and Noah in the same lineup in a second.

    Side note: Can’t wait for the Colts to begin their season. That is always my time of recognition that basketball season is just around the corner.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    You hit the nail on the head with mentioning that Luke’s shot could further open up the lane to penetration. Not only would our slashers benefit, but I’m guessing Yogi wouldn’t mind Luke dragging the opposing team’s center out of the lane.

  • JerryCT

    Personally I am going to guess that he will be our most valuable freshman on and off the court

  • skotchie

    I too would’ve liked to see Cody & Luke out there together, sadly that ship has sailed, Maybe it’s for the best though. This Freshmen class should develope it’s own culture based on what they know of the previous along with the guidence of Will & Yogi.
    I too believe this class will emerge as one of the special classes. I believe this IU team will be in the NCAA tourney without question.

  • yimyames

    His legs are like tree trunks, once the upper body catches up….

  • yimyames

    Fisher plays tall in the post, Cody does not. That will be the difference.

  • Indiana_Banners

    Are you being serious? Zeller initiated from the elbow ALL THE TIME. He ALWAYS had the option to shoot. He rarely CHOSE to do so. You could see how he wasn’t confident in his shot during games. Crean makes mistakes, but not letting his players loose isn’t one of them. Zeller could’ve shot the ball more if he wanted to.

  • Aceman_Mujezinovic_07

    I’m still saying Luke will be a Kirk Haston type player at IU . . . maybe even better. I would be willing to bet money that he ends up an All-B1G first team player by the time he’s a senior . . . maybe sooner! And I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see Luke in the starting lineup by the time the B1G season roles around . . . maybe quicker!!!

  • ScoopGeoff

    It has been reported otherwise. I agree that Crean lets his perimeter players loose offensively, but I read in recent reports surrounding Zellers draft status that Crean specifically and purposefully limited Zeller from the perimeter.

  • marcusgresham

    Steve Novak is 6’10”. Christian Watford is 6’9″. No, they aren’t centers, but they’re pretty damn tall.

  • wesmont

    Remember,every kid that gets drafted in the lottery spawns multiple recruits.From Cody and Vic we will get GOOD looks from many high level recruits.Also,Luke played volleyball,this means he will have great timing blocking shots.Mark my word on that.

  • hoosier1158

    A very good all around player. Here’s our center for this fall. He did a nice job of dominating those 6′ 5″ high school players. : )

  • ScoopGeoff

    ITH is fun… I like the up and down arrows…

    Listen, I’m a big Crean fan. I was a fan of the hire and I think he’s done an amazing job. I just think the fact that he is making a point to talk about Fischer’s mid-range game is funny…. Ironic…. Deja vu.

    Is this a “Banners” that I already know and love?

  • ScoopGeoff

    They were perimeter players first and foremost… That’s different than Cody and Fischer.

  • gerald

    We didnt need cody shooting we needed him down low rebounding and drawing double teams so our shooters could hit. also do you want crean to go on the court and make codys shooting motion for him? when he was open he couldve shot…

  • RonB

    Cody and his brother did not play on a 5A school and they were all right because they were taught the fundamentals. Luke is coming from a very similar school and he will be fine. He will also have a much more athletic team around him with more than one big who can play down low. He won’t be doubled teamed like Cody was and these things should get him some open facing the basket shots. If you are the coach and you really just have one big who can play down low like Cody where are you going to play him and what shots do you did him to take? It is only natural that Cody would be the go to man down low. Sure everyone would have liked to see him shoot 18 footers but that is not what last years team needed. Coach knew it and Cody knew it. It’s just that simple. If the others freshman bigs had developed like coach thought they would at the start of the season I can understand why he would say Cody will shoot some jump shots but it did not happen so he and Cody did what they had too.

  • shknqk

    Some guys dribble a ball all over campus. I expect to see “The Deadliest Catch” walking around campus with his arms in the ‘hands up’ position – I mean, he never brings the ball down. It’s like chastity… Seems so easy. All you have to do is “not do” something. Priceless.

  • SCHoosier

    Have to disagree…establishing Cody with a jump shot threat would have opened the lane for Yogi, Will and VO..plain and simple. We gave away a lot of offense insuring the other team didn’t have to worry about Cody doing anything except go to the hole.

  • notfargj

    not to steal any thunder from luke as i think he is an all-star level player and will prove to be a significant asset to the team. but, i just read where devin davis went off for 35 points at the hickory classic, showing up zak irvin. coupled with devin’s showing at both the derby and hickory games, i’m also excited to see devin develop. he’s playing inspired ball.

  • kewaynes

    agreed. No matter who you are, having a jumpshot always helps your game and the team.

  • RonB

    I am not saying jump shots are a bad thing by big men but what I am saying is that Coach and Cody chose not to use it. Right or wrong we can’t change it. I do believe it will be different with these new players and Luke because of team chemistry. It is also true that every team needs a big man to play the post. I guess we will have to wait and see. Cody and Vic look to be top ten picks for the NBA and Coach had a hand in getting they there. It will help us with recruiting for years to come.


    Yep, if Luke shoots the midrange jumper more than just once in a great while have to believe that at least part of it is Crean recognizing that when it was all said & done that Cody should have been as well.

  • hoosier1158

    Luke looks really solid and i think he will do fine when he gets to IU. I think he will step right into that center position with out any issues.


    Probably should have worded that one a little bit different. I meant that when he was recruiting a high quality big man that didn’t posses a perimeter game but could knock down the mid range jumper.

  • N71

    What’s not to love:

    + #4 ranked center according to ESPN, that’s nothing to sneeze at
    + His playing for us means we won’t be playing against him at Wisconsin
    + We’re in dire need of interior help with Cody’s departure
    + This could open a mini pipeline to Wisconsin disrupting Bo’s net
    + Wisconsin in theory is weakened taking a PR hit by not keeping it’s Mr. Basketball
    + People with Wisconsin sweatshirts can easily turn them inside out and sow on an IU logo because the red is nearly the same
    + The Big Ten Network allows Wisconsin residence to watch IU game more easily

    The only potential negative I can see is that Luke becomes so loved & missed by Wisconsin fans who wished he was a Badger, they travel to Indiana to watch him play depleting our beer reserves.

  • SCHoosier

    Now THAT’s what I call a well researched analysis!:)

  • Sean G

    I actually see both sides of this argument for Cody. On the one hand, it could have definitely opened up the lane and stretched opposing defenses if Cody had hit a few jump shots. But, if I remember correctly, Cody also got a lot of his points from offensive rebounds and put backs. Could Vic and Watford have picked up the O-Rebounding slack left by pulling Cody out from under the basket? We will never know, but I see why Crean felt the need to have his best (and really only capable) big man under the basket. Although, I do wish he had encouraged Cody to take a few more jumpers – especially against Syracuse…

  • HoosierGrampy

    A big plus not often mentioned is his ability to use EITHER hand in the post! He seems to be able to “take what’s available” without thinking, and his ability to go either way will burn those who try overplay him. He also passes well in traffic and keeps the ball high…Luke’s a baller and I believe that his teammates will really like having him “in the area” on both ends of the court.