Marcus Fizer was the most heralded
basketball recruit in
Fizer, a 6-foot-8, 265-pound
forward, was highly recruited as a prep in
"I knew growing up I wanted to
play against all of the other programs," said Fizer last week before the Austin
Toros of the NBA Developmental league took on the Arkansas RimRockers in
"I followed Tim Floyd since I was freshman in high school. I met his wife in high school, and she had amedia guide on her at the time. That was long before I met Tim.
"I just remember reading the media guide and all of the things the school had to offer. I made it up my mind in freshman and sophomore year of high school that is where I wanted to go."
Fizer's first two seasons at ISU
were forgettable. Fizer averaged 14.8 points per game his freshman year, but the
Clones were 12-18.After that season Floyd left ISU to become the head coach of
the Chicago Bulls in the NBA. Fizer stayed in
Even with an improved Fizer back for his junior season, most prognosticators picked the Cyclones to finish at the bottom of the Big 12. However, Eustachy signed dynamic junior college point guard Jamaal Tinsley, and together, he and Fizer helped orchestrate one of the best seasons in ISU basketball history.
The Clones won the Big 12 regular season title with 14-2 record and captured the conference tournament title, which helped to secure a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. Fizer scored 35 and 34 points, respectively, in road wins against Texas Tech and Baylor to secure ISU's first conference title since 1945. Fizer was voted the conference's Player of the Year and MVP of the tournament.
"There are a lot of memories I
have of being at
After an 80-56 win over UCLA, who
The game was a nip-and-tuck affair until the last few minutes of the game when questionable calls, including a moving screen against Fizer, helped the eventual
National Champion Spartans pull away to a 75-64 win.
"A lot of people remember that and come up to me now and say, 'That is one of the worst officiated games I have ever seen,'" Fizer said. "It was amazing. There isn't much you can do. Larry (Eustachy) pretty much said enough for all of us.
"It was unfortunate. You live and learn and move on."
The year was a magical one for
"It was very exciting," Fizer said. "I can honestly say I don't remember a lot of that season because I was so focused on getting to the National Championship Game and winning the championship."
"I saw the trophy at the beginning of the season, and that was my goal. With teamwork and focus we grew through the season as a team."
"We had a lot of fun at that time when I think about it now. I have to sit back and try to relive those days because things were happening so fast, and I was so focused. I honestly don't remember a lot. People come up to me and talk about the games, but what I remember is that once we lost out - that feeling of incompleteness and void."
Fizer said he had every intention of returning for his final year of eligibility but a family tragedy forced him into the NBA Draft, where Floyd and the Bulls took
Fizer with the fourth pick.
"I really wanted to (stay at ISU)," Fizer said. "In February of that year, my parents' house burned down, and it was kind of a no-brainer. I hadn't made up my mind until after the season ended, but once we lost everything we had I decided to go (to the NBA)."
Fizer's NBA career has been plagued by injuries. During the 2002-03 season he only played 38 games. He has averaged 9.7 points per game in five seasons and is trying to regain his form in the D-Leauge where he is averaging nearly 20 points per game.
"It's all just a learning process," Fizer said. "That is my goal - to get back to the NBA. For whatever reason, things aren't moving too swiftly right now. I am going to work and fight and hopefully things will happen soon."
Even as he fights to get back to the NBA
he reminisces about the magical 1999-2000 season and his experiences in
"I usually get back each summer," Fizer said. "I didn't get back last summer, but I usually go back for the Iowa/Iowa State football game. I missed it this year, and I hate that I missed it. I always love going back there and seeing the people there. It's always fun being there and seeing how passionate they are about their sports."