Countdown to 2015–16: Chase Fischer’s fireworks are the byproduct of rigorous work

Fischer (Courtesy of BYU men’s basketball)

I could have started this piece off with my own words, but BYU’s season review wrapped it up perfectly.

Chase Fischer’s name popped out of television screens across America last Thanksgiving weekend when he did what is mentioned in the final sentence of the blurb above. In BYU’s 121–85 demolition derby over Chaminade, the DII hosts of the Maui Invitational, Fischer nailed 10 three-pointers, a school record.

It was an eerie re-creation of what Christophe Varidel, then a Chaminade sniper extraordinaire, had done one year before, hitting 10 threes against Baylor in a thrilling upset win.

There are times that Fischer’s offensive pyrotechnics enter the realm of legend, that picture-perfect form a spitting image of some kid who came from Cabin Creek, W. Va. more than fifty years ago.

That fits, since Fischer’s mother grew up 10 minutes from Jerry West’s hometown, and Fischer himself lives 45 minutes away from it. When I spoke to Fischer last March, after BYU’s win over Portland in the West Coast Conference tournament semifinals, I brought up this proximity to West, and I saw his eyes light up.

“Oh yeah! That’s the logo!”

Fischer is one of the best shooters in college basketball, and like West, he works steadfastly to maintain that reputation. Before games, he’d head out on to the court with former teammate Anson Winder and hoist at least 200 shots. They’d parse the routine out in sets of 10, navigating around the three-point arc, sometimes moving a few feet within for mid-range practice.

Before the WCC tournament final, against Gonzaga, Fischer was out on the court with then-BYU assistant Mark Pope (now the head coach at Utah Valley). With 30 minutes until tip, Fischer was the last player from either team still on the court. As Pope fired passes, Fischer sifted between the left and right wings, sometimes stopping dead center. He kept firing up shots. There was a string where he hit 18 out of 20.

Fischer missed his first four shots of that championship game, feeding fodder to the nay-sayers who dogged him all season. He only goes off against mid-level opponents. He doesn’t play good enough defense.

And yet…

There was a reason Fischer was named a captain ahead of last season — his first on the court for BYU following his transfer from Wake Forest. He came out with a purpose in the second half against the Zags. In the first two minutes, he hit a jumper and converted a strong take to the hoop.

This was a glimpse of the mid-range game he has cultivated. Next season, BYU will have a gaping hole in its scoring column, where Tyler Haws used to reside with such emphatic, metronomic effect. Expect Fischer to help pick up the slack.

At the very least, know this. He’ll have worked all summer. He’ll be prepared.

Fischer, rising. (Courtesy of Jaren Wilkey, BYU)

Game of life, with a twist—and shout. Twitter: @alleywhoops