Although Marquette missed postseason play for a third consecutive year, the Golden Eagles took another step forward in 2015-2016 under Coach Steve Wojciechowski, improving to 20-13 and adding a trio of top-100 recruits in its 2016 class. Now without one-and-done big man Henry Ellenson's size, skill, and versatility anchoring its offense, the Golden Eagles need a breakout senior season from 6'11 center Luke Fischer more than ever. Since transferring from Indiana, Fischer has put together two solid seasons, but has struggled with passivity and inconsistency, while remaining on the outside looking in as an NBA Draft prospect.
At 6'11 and a 245-pound frame, Fischer has prototypical size for an NBA center and has improved his body substantially since graduating high school. While he is not the longest or most impressive athlete, he is mobile, moves well laterally, displays adequate quickness in the open floor, and is explosive enough around the basket to make an impact at the collegiate level.
Fischer didn't change substantially from his sophomore to his junior season from an offensive perspective, as he once again saw most of his shot attempts close to the basket. Fischer was not the most productive player as a junior, either, scoring just 16.1 points per 40 minutes pace adjusted. With that said, he was efficient, making 60.8% of his overall field goals, and may be able to assume a more substantial role in Marquette's offense now that Ellenson has moved on to the NBA.
On film, Fischer still looks most comfortable operating with his back to the basket, using his body to carve out space, his length to collect passes, and his combination of strength and footwork to work his way to the basket. His jump hook remains his go-to post move and he showed the ability to execute it smoothly with both hands, with the body control and quick release allow him to get his shot off against most collegiate post-defenders. With few exceptions, however, this remains his only post move and, without diversifying his repertoire or more actively drawing contact, he may struggle to find clean looks without Ellenson around.
Elsewhere, Fischer did a good job of moving without the ball, putting himself in the position to receive the ball off of cuts (71.7% FG) and while trailing in transition (83.3% FG) due to his awareness, timing, and soft hands. While he is not featured in pick-and-roll sets that often (18 FGA), he was a very efficient finisher (77.8% FG) in these situations. Fischer is a decent offensive rebounder, as well, grabbing four per 40 minutes pace adjusted and converting 63.6% of his resulting field goal attempts.
Fischer has yet to demonstrate any competence away from the basket, however, as he struggles to put the ball on the floor and attempted only three jump shots as a junior (six total at Marquette). While his significant improvement from the foul line, from 58.2% FT as a sophomore to 68% FT as a junior, suggests that he may still develop his ability to step away from the rim, he has yet to show that he can stretch the floor for Marquette, let alone at the next level. The increased spacing of not playing alongside another collegiate center in Ellenson may again help us learn more about this part of his game as a senior.
As is also case on the offensive end of the floor, Fischer is at his best defensively around the basket, where his strength and solid lateral quickness allow him to hold his own while guarding his man in the post, even if his below average length and at times lethargic style of play makes him highly inconsistent in this area. Moving away from the basket is a mixed bag as well, as he still struggles with positioning in the pick-and-roll, does not close out as aggressively on shooters as one would hope, and does not show any type of fundamentals or effort crashing the defensive boards (4.4 per 40 minutes pace adjusted), which is one of the worst rates among big men prospects in college basketball. He regressed significantly as a shot blocker, as well, averaging a career low 1.9 blocks per 40 minutes pace adjusted. To have any chance of improving his NBA prospects, Fischer must work much harder on defense as a senior in order to show scouts that his inconsistent resume is a thing of the past.
Even with improvement on both ends of the floor, it remains to be seen how much of a role there is in the contemporary NBA for a traditional, post-bound center with average physical tools like Luke Fischer. A year older than most in his class and with a solid, but unspectacular resume, Fischer still has much to prove to NBA scouts on the eve of his senior season. He should have every opportunity to impress, however, as Marquette's top returning post player in a very shallow frontcourt rotation. For these reasons, scouts will be watching to see both how he responds, as well as how he stacks up alongside of NBA-caliber athletes, in early season match-ups against Wisconsin, Michigan, and Vanderbilt.