Ripley guard Chase Fischer was faced with a difficult decision in the spring of last year as then Marshall head basketball coach Donnie Jones accepted the same position at UCF. Fischer had committed to play for Jones at Marshall back in the summer of 2008, prior to his sophomore high school season. His older brother, Noah Fischer, was also with the Thundering Herd, finishing his freshman season last year.
“I really liked the staff there – Coach Jones and mainly Coach Brett Nelson who played at St. Albans and played at Florida; and my brother was there and I felt comfortable being committed to them,” Fischer said.
However, with Jones moving on to UCF and a new staff coming in at Marshall, Fischer decided to reopen his recruiting process.
“A lot of schools came in,” Fischer said. “I just took some visits and really weighed my options.”
And at the front of those options for Fischer was Wake Forest. The Demon Deacons’ coaching staff was one of the first teams to contact him after he decided to reopen the recruiting process.
“Wake Forest has always been a school that caught my eye – I’ve been to some camps down there and stuff,” Fischer said. “The academics are great there, it’s ACC basketball and they have a great new coach in Coach Jeff Bzdelik.”
Before making his second verbal commitment, Fischer narrowed his top four down to Wake Forest, UCF, Virginia Tech and Ohio. In the end, he went with the Demon Deacons.
“They just have the full package and I’m happy with my decision,” Fischer said.
Then on November 10th of this past year, Fischer finalized his future with Wake Forest by signing a letter of intent. It was the official end to a process that can put a lot of weight on a young person’s shoulders.
“It was a relief after I got it over with,” Fischer said. “The recruiting process is hard because you have so many phone calls to coaches – and not that it’s a bad thing but it just gets really tiring. It’s really a stressful process because the school you choose will really determine your future. It really got kind of stressful and I’m just glad I got it out of the way and made the right choice.”
Fischer is now in the middle of his senior season at Ripley where he’s been a four-year starter. He averaged 32 points a year ago for the Vikings, making 82 three point shots – he also finished runner up to Noah Cottrill for the state’s Player of the Year a season ago.
“Any night he comes out he can score 50,” said Ripley head coach Craig Harmon. “As far as scoring he has all the moves, but what a lot of people don’t realize is he’s a very good passer as well. He gets close to 10 assists per game.”
Fischer, meanwhile, says he’s come a long way since he first stepped onto the floor for Ripley his freshman season.
“I was really skinny and wiry. I could play, but I really just have a better understanding as I get older and play more basketball. And Coach Harmon has been really helpful in that,” Fischer said. “When I came in as a freshman, he just told me what I needed to do if I wanted to play at the next level and he was right about all the things he said. And I’ve advanced so much with all the camps, the games, and just everything that I’ve been doing. I’ve put a lot of work into it and gotten a lot stronger, a lot bigger and Coach Harmon’s been really key to that.”
So far this year, Fischer has been lights out for a majority of the year, averaging around 40 points per contest. He started off the season scoring 58 points against St. Albans and then 54 six days later against Parkersburg.
Regardless, Fischer says there are still plenty of things he’s trying to work on during his senior season before he heads off to the college game next year.
“I’ve got to work on my defense, keep up with the athleticism and get stronger and work on all the parts of my game. I’m still pretty young and as I get stronger I think my defense will keep improving,” Fischer said. “It’s not that I’m a bad defender, it’s just the weakest part of my game. I think once I get down to Wake Forest and I’m around that competition, I think I’ll be fine. But just getting stronger really is the main thing and being able to adapt to college basketball right away.”
And as for his potential role next year with the Demon Deacons?
“I’m a shooter and that’s what I’m known for but they said I could help out at the point because I can handle the ball really well,” Fischer said. “But they really just see me as a shooter because they stretch the floor – that’s really what Wake Forest has been lacking in the past couple years. That’s what they see me in my main role of stretching the floor in transition, keeping the defense honest and also running some point.”
But that’s all still a ways away. Right now, the main focus for Fischer is simply getting Ripley to the state tournament.
“We have really high expectations for ourselves and we’re a relatively young basketball team this year even though we have three seniors that play the majority of the game,” Fischer said.