Giant Steps

WVU junior center D'or Fischer has made huge strides during his time as a Mountaineer, and he finally got the chance to show his stuff on the floor against James Madison.

Fischer, who is a breath of fresh air during interviews, couldn't contain his happiness after WVU's 74-57 win over James Madison. As media members waited to interview him, the big center shared laughs, hugs and smiles with his mother and several other friends and family members. No one interrupted the moment, because the big man earned the right to celebrate after going through a long season of practice and school without the joy of playing in games.

"It felt good getting out there after not getting to play for a whole year," Fischer said with a smile. "I've been waiting on this for a long time."

Fischer and his teammates came out with a bang, as they sprinted out to an early lead on the strength of five quick three-pointers and some defensive intimidation by the transfer, who forced James Madison players to alter a number of shots.

"It was our first game, and we came out with a lot of energey. When the second half started, I think we started to relax a little bit, and that let them come back in the game," Fischer noted.

That certainly appeared to be the case, as WVU allowed an 18 point halftime lead to be cut in half. However, just as he had done during first half action, the lanky center cranked up his game to give the Mountaineers a boost.

"In the first half, I was getting the ball and passing it, but in the second half they were leaving me open. So my coach said 'that's what we work on every day. When you're one on one use your hook, and try to go at them', and that's what I did."

Indeed he did, as he hit five of his seven second half shots on a variety of nice post moves and a mid-range jumper.

Fischer was an even bigger factor defensively, as he cleaned up many messes left by a pourous Mountaineer defense. WVU allowed the shorter Dukes easy access to the lane on far too many occasions, but on several of them the big eraser was there to clean up the mess.

"They were penetrating, so I started sagging off my man a little bit to help out," Fischer analyzed. "Then when I started doing that, they started trying to feed my guy in the post. So the coaches told me that while I'm trying to help (against the penetration) I also needed to get better position against the man I was guarding."

Fishcer only has brief college experience to draw upon, so he's still a work in progress as far as learning the intricacies of defense, including help side rotation and correct positioning. However he wasted little time in showing that he can make a contribution, and a big one, with the little experience he does have.

Head coach John Beilein knows that he will have to live with some mistakes from Fischer, but the enthusiasm and big play potential that he brings to the floor will offset any errors that he makes.

"He's been waiting so long, and one time he didn't go all the way to the scorer's table (to check in)," Beilein noted. He was so eager to play. He's emotional, and he wears them on his sleeve, but we love what he gave us tonight."

He wasn't the only one, as the 1500 or so Mountaineer fans in attendance roared on every big block and cheered every soft drop step. Fischer has all the makings of a WVU fan favorite, and his instant ascendancy into the Mountaineer record books in his very first game no dobut solidified that position.

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