Ex-Gopher Ben Fischer Shines at Winona Hoops

Ben Fischer, a 6-foot-2, 185-pound wide receiver who redshirted last season at Minnesota, is playing basketball at Winona State this year and is averaging 5.5 points for the Warriors, who are off to an 11-1 start and ranked No. 5 in the country.

Ben Fischer was a star basketball player at Wausau (Wis.) East High and had received a scholarship offer from Winona State, but decided to sign with Minnesota for football after an injury-plagued senior season.

Fischer attended the first few weeks of summer camp this season with the Gophers football team. He enrolled at Winona before the start of classes and decided to play hoops for the Warriors.

"After you skip a season of basketball, you miss it," Fischer told the Winona Daily News. "I always loved basketball more than football and my decision weighed on me."

"I wasn't sure if anything was going to work out, so I just didn't want to quit."

Fischer is averaging 23.8 minutes per game coming off the bench. He is shooting 58.8% from the field, 20.0% from three-point range and 68.4% from the line. Fischer is averaging 2.3 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game.

Winona won the NCAA Division II national championship in 2006 and is coming off a 35-1 season and a national runner-up finish in the NCAA Division II Elite Eight Tournament.

Winona head coach Mike Leaf is excited about the addition of Fischer.

"This is a nice little addition," Leaf said. "Ben is a tremendous shooter and handles the ball very well.

"He's a lot stronger than he was in high school, too, and is great at taking the ball to the basket and finishing with both hands."

Fischer averaged 21.1 points, 5.4 rebounds and 3.6 assists as a high school junior, earning honorable mention all-state honors. He battled injuries as a senior and averaged 11.4 points, 3.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists.

Fischer's situation is similar to that of Jonte Flowers, a senior guard and All-American for the Warriors. Flowers was a receiver for Wisconsin's football team before transferring to WSU to play basketball.

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