Good As GoldWhen it comes to blocking shots, Northwestern State'sD'or Fischer has a Midas touch

February 04, 2002

In computer science Moore's law states that chip power doubles
roughly every 18 months. At Northwestern State in Natchitoches,
La., D'or's law describes a similarly impressive growth curve.
Demons sophomore center D'or Fischer played so little organized
ball while growing up that, last season, when coach Mike
McConathy sent Fischer into his first exhibition game, Fischer
ran onto the floor without checking in at the scorer's table. He
quickly figured things out though. In his first regular-season
game he had 12 points, 11 rebounds and six blocked shots in 18
minutes. In a win over Southwest Texas State in January 2001, he
came up one shy of the NCAA single-game record of 14 blocks, and
last March he led the Demons into the NCAAs by racking up 10
points, 11 boards and nine blocks in a victory over Winthrop in
the tournament play-in game. This season, through Sunday, Fischer
was ranked second in the nation in blocked shots, with 4.9 per
game.

Not bad for someone who, because he moved often as a teenager,
attended four high schools, in Maryland and Pennsylvania, never
starting a game and never playing a full season. The reasons for
Fischer's disjointed playing career varied (a job at Burger King
one year, an F in geometry another), but mainly, he says, he was
lazy and had paper-thin skin: He sulked whenever he was
criticized. During his senior year at Upper Darby (Pa.) High he
quit the team after eight games, partly because of a lack of
playing time and partly because he was angry that his coach
referred to him as a "tall drink of water"--which, given his
mere 200 pounds on a 6'8" frame, he was.

After graduating in 1999, Fischer caught the eye of Demons
assistant Dave Simmons at a summer juco showcase. Although
Fischer played poorly, Simmons was intrigued by his height and
soft touch, and McConathy eventually offered him a scholarship to
Northwestern State, a low-rung Division I school that finds
players wherever it can. Fischer, whose first name means of gold
in French, had never heard of the school, but he recognized a
golden opportunity when he saw one. "When I got back to
Philadelphia and told my friends I was going to Northwestern
State," he says, "they all said, 'Great, when do you leave for
Chicago?'"

Fischer didn't score high enough on his ACTs to be admitted,
however, so he moved in with his sister, Tasha, at the Columbus
(Miss.) Air Force Base. There, he successfully retook the ACTs,
and by the time he arrived in Natchitoches, in 2000, he had grown
three inches and gained 20 pounds. He had also benefited from
daily pickup games against military personnel, which made him a
more physical and, given the trash talking of the troops,
thicker-skinned player. "When I was young, my feelings would be
hurt every time someone made a comment about me," Fischer says.
"After playing with those guys, nothing bothered me."

Now Fischer does the bothering, especially on defense with his
90-inch wingspan. On offense he's still a work in progress,
though he's rapidly improving. After averaging 5.1 points and 4.0
rebounds a year ago, he was averaging 10.2 and 7.4, respectively,
through Sunday for the Demons, who were 8-11 (5-4 in Southland
Conference play). Fischer still gets knocked around in the post,
but "he can knock down the three as well as anybody we have,"
says McConathy.

A biology major, Fischer is interested in becoming a
veterinarian, but he's also dreaming of playing in the NBA. At
the rate he's growing as a player, his dream may not be
far-fetched. "He has a lot of talent," says McConathy, "and he's
only beginning to get a feel for the game."

COLOR PHOTO: DARREN CARROLL Despite his relative inexperience, Fischer has become a towering presence for the Demons on defense--and at clinics for the kids in Natchitoches.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)