in the championship game last March.
I had the opportunity to interview Coach Showalter last December at Mark Miller’s WBY Shootout. At the time, Germantown had defeated MU bound Matt Heldt ’s Neenah team. I asked Coach Showalter to comment about Heldt and about coaching the 6’ 11” Luke Fisher, the Germantown product who transferred to MU from Indiana. Here is a transcript of that interview.
John Dodds: I am here with Germantown Head Coach Steve Showalter after a big 67-63 win over the Neenah Rockets. You beat a physical Neenah team that featured 6’9” Marquette recruit Matt Heldt.
Neenah's 6-9 C Matt Heldt
Coach Showalter: “It was a tough game.” Whenever you play against a 7 footer, you have to change everything you do. We are not as big in the post as we have been in the past, so we had to do additional preparation for a game like this, so getting the win was big for us.
John Dodds: I have watched your teams play over the last five years. In terms of your team’s being fundamentally sound, you remind me of some of the old school programs such as Paul Noack’s Marquette High or John McGuire’s Racine St. Catherine’s teams. You are disciplined, careful with the ball and do the little things well.
Coach Showalter: “We like to get up and down the court and score as much as we can.” We also don’t like turnovers and want to play good solid hard nose defense.
John Dodds: You played for Bo Ryan at Platteville. How much of Bo Ryan’s philosophies and offenses/defenses have you employed? The swing, his principles? How much have you utilized in your program?
Coach Showalter: When I first started coaching, everything we did was based on what I learned while playing for Coach at Platteville. As we progressed talent wise, we have been able to put some different “stuff” in. The principles are still the same though.
John Dodds: Two years ago at Mark Miller’s Christmas Shootout, I saw Luke Fischer for the first time and was just wowed by his skill set. When he transferred from Indiana, that might have been the only positive thing that happened to Marquette in 13-14. At his first Marquette press conference, I asked “Who taught you those post moves and worked with you to develop the drop set moves?” Talk about working with Luke Fisher.
Coach Showalter: So what was his answer?
John Dodds: He said it was his dad out in the driveway and that it was Coach Showalter in practice. We worked on fundamentals everyday.
Coach Showalter: Luke has been very skilled since he has been a little kid. I have known him because he grew up with my kids. I have known him since he was a little guy. He is very skilled as a basketball player but he was a great baseball player, basketball player and football player. He is just a great skilled kid and he just grew on top of all that. When you put those two things together, he is turning out pretty well. I think he is going to make a lot of money some day playing this game.
John Dodds: Jerry Wainwright, former Marquette Assistant, was impressed by Luke’s skill set.&nb sp; The foot speed, the ability to play the stretch four, he compared his skill set to a young and raw Tim Duncan – nowhere near as good as Tim Duncan became.
Coach Showalter: As I mentioned, he is not the total back-to-the basket kind of guy like a Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Luke is going to beat you with his skills and his finesse. Once he gets his strength to catch up with his skill, he has a chance to be really, really good.
John Dodds: When did he grow? Was he in 8th grade?
Coach Showalter: He was a freshman on the JV team and he didn’t start as a freshman. He was about 6’3.” By the end of his freshman year, he was approaching 6’7” and he kept growing.< /p>
John Dodds: The recruiting process: How did Tom Crean steal this guy from Bo Ryan and Buzz Williams? I remember Buzz Williams not being interested his sophomore year and from what I heard, Coach Ryan was not either. How did Crean get in there from Indiana and recruit him?
Coach Showalter: Indiana offered very early. The Badgers took their time a little bit more and were waiting. They wanted to wait and see him throughout his junior season and into the summer. Luke went down to Indiana and watched the big win over Kentucky. He fell in love with Indiana and committed right on the spot. He had three or four offers at the time. Indiana realized they had a steal and the Badgers finally realized how good he was but it was too late. When he wanted to come home, he rea lly couldn’t transfer to a Big Ten school without having to sit out more time.
End of Part 1 of 2