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Unexpected surprise – freshman Fischer leaves IU

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Departure to give others opportunity

Tuesday, December 31, 2013 - 5:18 am

BLOOMINGTON -- Luke Fischer delivered Indiana coach Tom Crean an unexpected surprise just before the start of Big Ten play.

The 6-11 freshman center was transferring.

“This was not something anybody saw coming,” Crean said.

Fischer met with Crean Monday morning. Despite having played every game this season and having seen double digit minutes in his last four games as his role expanded, the former Wisconsin Mr. Basketball was moving on. No official reason was given and no potential school was mentioned.

“He told us that he wanted to do something different,” Crean said after Monday afternoon's practice. “Always in those situations the timing issue will always surprise you. I can't say I was in complete shock. It is what it is.

“You wish him the best. We'll miss his potential. We'll miss him as a person. He did an outstanding job academically. He's an excellent young man. We move right on. The team moves right on. Practice moves right on. We just go. That's what it was.”

On Tuesday IU (10-3) goes to Illinois (11-2). What impact does losing a reserve player who averaged 2.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 10.0 have? How does it affect the player rotation?

“I don't know,” Crean said. “You haven't seen a rotation yet. If we want to press for 40 minutes, we'll press for 40 minutes. It creates more opportunity.

“Luke had good potential. There's no doubt about that. It creates more opportunity for others. That's all you can ask for. That's what it is. Time doesn't wait for anybody. You have to go. That's exactly where we're at.”

Fischer battled a shoulder injury during preseason practices, but he had recovered and never missed a game. He was coming off a career-high 10 points against Kennesaw State on Dec. 22.

As far as where Fischer could end up, he had previously received scholarship offers from Marquette, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Creighton, Iowa and Boston College.

With Fischer gone, IU is left with one true center -- 6-10 freshman Noah Vonleh, who averages 12.0 points and a Big Ten-leading 9.5 rebounds.

Peter Jurkin, a 6-11 sophomore, has only played seven games and averaged just 1.4 minutes. Injuries have severely limited his impact, both before he arrived on campus, and after.

Hanner Mosquera Perea, a 6-8 sophomore forward, has played in all 13 games and averaged 3.8 points and 2.1 rebounds in 8.7 minutes.

Another forward, 6-8 Jeff Howard, has played in nine games and started one. He averages 1.0 points and 0.9 rebounds in 4.1 minutes.

Another option is 6-8 Jeremy Hollowell, who has played some guard as well as forward. He averages 8.6 points and 4.2 rebounds.

As far as recruiting, IU has wrapped up its Class of 2014 with guards James Blackmon and Robert Johnson, and 6-7 forward Max Hoetzel.

In an IU release, Crean announced that Fischer is no longer enrolled at the university.

“Luke has decided to withdraw from Indiana and pursue another educational and basketball opportunity,” Crean said in the release. “He explained to us he is looking for a different fit for him. We hate to see a fine young man like Luke leave, but he has made his decision and we wish the entire Fischer family well.”