Q & A: Evan Fitzner talks commitment to Indiana

  • 05/04/2018 9:00 am in

Indiana added more frontcourt help for next season on Thursday as St. Mary’s graduate transfer Evan Fitzner gave his pledge to the Hoosiers.

Fitzner, who averaged 6.5 points and 3.5 rebounds over three seasons for the Gaels, will suit up next season for Indiana and has just one year of eligibility remaining.

Inside the Hall spoke with Fitzner on Thursday night about his commitment, how he fits on the IU roster and much more. Our full Q & A is available below:

Inside the Hall: Your dad, Mark, mentioned that when you began this process you had a list of schools that you wanted to look at it and first you saw UC-Santa Barbara. What was it about the visit to Indiana that gave you the comfort and the confidence to go ahead and commit?

Evan Fitzner: A big part of it was just getting to know the staff and coach (Archie) Miller. Coach (Ed) Schilling recruited me and in getting to know them better and gaining some trust, I liked everything they had to say. It seems like they want to see me do well. Then obviously, Indiana basketball speaks for itself. All of the facilities and the resources that the program has are pretty impressive. That’s pretty much it.

ITH: When you visited, it was at the same time that Romeo Langford made his commitment. Did you get a sense for the excitement on campus for that and was that at all impactful in giving you a sense of just how important basketball is in Indiana?

Fitzner: I definitely got a glimpse being out there while he was going through his commitment. I watched a little bit of it while I was there. It was cool to see that. At the end of the day, it’s a basketball decision for me. I was more excited to have the opportunity to play with a great player than I was about the excitement over the decision.

ITH: I know getting back to the NCAA tournament is important to you. What was it about Indiana that made you feel it was the spot for you to do that next season?

Fitzner: Coach Miller seems really passionate about turning the program around. Obviously it’s been a great recruiting class this year. I’ve got some good experience just from being in the tournament and winning a lot of games (at St. Mary’s), so I feel like I can play a big role on the team bringing that leadership and that experience to a talented young group.

ITH: The style of play is different than at St. Mary’s. How big of a factor was that in your decision?

Fitzner: Coach Miller wants to play fast. That’s something that I did a lot of in high school and it’s something that I’d like to get back to. I feel like it suits my game well. Just being able to stretch the floor and getting out in transition. I think the style of play fits well.

ITH: The first thing that stands out when looking at your stats is the 3-point shooting. What are some other things in your game that maybe you don’t get enough credit for?

Fitzner: If you watch the film throughout my career, I put the ball on the floor a lot and got to the basket off of pump fakes. Guys are flying at me because they know I can shoot. And then one of the things I’d like to show more of is a back to the basket game and being able to post up. Those would be the two main things.

ITH: When did you know that you were going to commit?

Fitzner: I definitely wanted to come back (from the visit) and take a few days to think things over. Because I had a great visit to Santa Barbara and I was excited about that afterwards. So I just wanted to make sure I wasn’t involving any emotion. So I wanted to come back and run things past my parents and some of the other people who have helped me throughout my basketball career and just make sure it was the right decision. I slept on it a couple of nights and my feelings never really changed, so I went for it.

ITH: What’s next for you in terms of finishing up school at St. Mary’s and then getting to Bloomington?

Fitzner: I’m going to graduate at the end of this month and then I think I’m going to head out there … I haven’t really finalized everything. We’re still working on dates.

ITH: When you get there and start working with the staff and your new teammates, what are some of the things that you want to focus on this summer and this offseason?

Fitzner: I think one of the big ones is just improving my body and being more physical, putting on a little weight. That was one of the other big parts of my decision. Coach Clif (Marshall), the strength coach, seems like a big asset to the program and just for me really. I’m looking forward to coming in there and getting right to work with him. I’ve already been in communication with him. Just trying to get in the weight room and put on some size. I think that’s one of the biggest things.

ITH: What are you studying at St. Mary’s and what do you plan to study at IU?

Fitzner: I’m studying business administration and I’m going to do educational leadership when I get out there to IU.

(Photo credit: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America)

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  • kennygeorge

    Lots of good comments from an excellent young man. Excited to see him play for IU…

  • Jethro Jones

    AM has surrounded himself with a great coaching staff and I think that plays a huge role in recruiting. Good to see.

  • N71

    If a couple weeks ago I were asked, “how would you fill the two open scholarships?”, I would have said, “with Romeo and a grad transfer, big guy preferably”. Its been a good week for IU basketball.

  • Tommy Morrsion

    1.) Love his comments on pump fakes… seems like a lost art in today’s game.
    2.) Cliff Marshall is the man.

  • N71

    I agree on Cliff Marshall but it seems to be part of a larger teaming going on with Archie, Ed, Tom, Bruiser, and Fred all in lockstep. We may be entering into a special era if we don’t step on any landmines.

  • jayrig5

    No offense to Bloomington, but if he picked IU after visiting UC-Santa Barbara he must really have based his choice on basketball.

  • for whom the balls roll

    Pump faking also means he’ll be outsmarting and frustrating opposing big men by drawing fouls and shooting well from the line. I like the image of guys flying at him. We’re a team with little upperclass leadership (other than Juwan). We need his game experience.

  • iubase

    agree. This guy is 6’10” shoots 3s at 447 clip, FT% close to 90%, and will help in the locker room with the young guys. Not a bad week. He will help with spacing. Romeo and the other shooters should benefit from this as well. Their will be some competition out there in practice….only makes everyone better.

  • iubase

    Schilling seems to be in the mix with a lot of these players.

  • Hoosier Hall

    Don’t forget McRoberts. He is a senior now too with lots of experience. Obviously not the most talented guy we have but Zach plays his guts out, has good defensive instincts and provides a spark.

  • for whom the balls roll

    True, no doubt he is a major piece. I forgot about him because I was looking at our list of scholarships.

  • John D Murphy

    Playing time is going to be a hot commodity. I don’t you anyone other than Romeo and Morgan in for minutes right now. Justin is likely but not a done deal.

  • Tommy Morrsion

    True, Archie has, in the old phrase, “surrounded himself with people better than himself.” What a smart move for a young coach to convince older and more experienced coaches to be on his team. Hats off to Archie for then setting and communicating hisvision.

    The team being “lockstep” is not by accident. It’s good leadership.

  • mars5123

    I hope he has an academic scholarship. he has done a lot for our team and clearly puts in the work. He’s certainly earned his education.

  • Sandra Wilson

    If he actually uses the ball fake, it’ll be worth having him just for that. It’s been about 10 years since we’ve used fakes of any kind. Just as I hope Romeo helps bring in other Indiana recruits, I would hope that seeing how valuable ball fakes are from this gentleman will also rub off on the others. In watching the NCAA tourney this year, there were a number of teams that used ball fakes and 99% of the time, something good happened because of them. Let’s hope he follows through on what he says.

  • marcusgresham

    Ya know, though, from a defensive standpoint McRoberts might actually be the most talented guy on the roster. He is under-rated in his ability

  • William D. Brockman

    Both are beautiful campuses. I’ve been to both.

  • SCHoosier

    A big who can shoot the 3 and pump fake around the bucket???!! What’s not to like about all that?

  • coachv

    his brother has probably earned $30 million. i think he’s got it covered

  • marcusgresham

    I’ve never understood how Pepperdine doesn’t get every singly player it recruits. I understand the difficulty of getting to Hawaii, but Pepperdine is accessible and on Malibu Beach.

  • coachv

    i’m sure playing in front of 17,000 people vs 170 played a part in his decision

  • marcusgresham

    Clif Marshall could be a huge key here. I’m sure Fitzer understands he isn’t going to the NBA but playing overseas is probably a possibility, and if he’s going to do that getting the most out of a strength and conditioning coach is helpful.

  • coachv

    probably possibly

  • oldiugymnast

    academic scholarships count against the max as I understand it.

  • oldiugymnast

    Pepperdine is part of the Non-Instrumental Church of Christ. I grew up in this church. I spent my first two years at one of the other CoC schools. Trust me – Malibu does not make up for the restrictiveness of the rules nor would it be enough to keep a normal 18 year old boy from going crazy. I got kicked out myself (and 2 of my cousins got kicked out of another one the same week). I totally understand how a player would visit and after words be a hard no.

  • coachv

    he’s no phil isenbarger. that dude shot faked every time he touched the ball. even when he was 40 feet from the basket. he had this big, ridiculous exaggerated fake. his head flopped back like a pez dispenser. he even pump faked the drinking fountain

  • coachv

    really? i did not know that

  • coachv

    i agree. i wouldn’t like the Non-Instrumental Church of Christ. i always prefer when they have some lively music. you know, like drums and guitars and organs. stuff like that

  • oldiugymnast

    The only upside is I can jump in with any band and sing the harmonies.

  • coachv

    lol

  • mark

    Having a big who can shoot the three will be a great asset when he is on the floor with Juwan. Whed Juwan makes his moves inside, other teams will have to choose between doubling down on him or guarding the perimeter. However, I just wonder why he didn’t get more playing time at St Mary’s. Hope he is not a defensive liability. But he could be Max Bielfeldt II

  • coachv

    because no one gives a sh!t about pepperdine basketball. even the students don’t give a sh!t about pepperdine basketball. it’s like becoming one of the world’s great violinists and spending 4 years playing concerts only at deaf schools. you have your whole life to live in beautiful places. you have only one chance to play in assembly hall. which do you think you’d remember when you are old in your rocking chair?