D’Or Fischer of Unics Kazan is one of the best shot-blockers to have played in Europe over the past decade. He is the Euroleague’s career in blocks per game with an average of 1.55 rejections for every game he’s appeared in. Moreover, Fischer ranks seventh on the Euroleague’s all-time list with 138 blocks for his career. And when playing in the Eurocup, Fischer protects the rim too; his 38 career blocks in the Eurocup are the most for any player with fewer than 25 games played in the competition.
Basketball has been a vehicle that has seen the American-born center take his skills all across Europe. He has played in seven different countries over the last 10 years, and he has blocked shots with practically the same frequency at every stop.
Not everyone would appreciate all the moving Fischer has made as a basketball player. But for Fischer, the chance to see so much of the world is a blessing. “Playing in different countries has molded me in the player that I am today. When you can play in different countries you learn many things, you meet many people, you experience different cultures.” Fischer said.
The player he’s been molded into is certainly a dominant force. And Fischer appreciates that he’s still able to play at the highest level. “Being 33 years old I am just blessed to be able to play this game”, he said.
In fact, Fischer hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. At the start of this season, he led Unics through the Turkish Airlines Euroleague Qualifying Rounds and into the Euroleague regular season, where only three players accumulated a greater performance index rating than Fischer (18.1 per game). Along with leading the Euroleague regular season in blocked shots (1.8 bpg.), he also averaged 13.1 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.2 assists. Fischer stood tall as the Round 8 bwin MVP for what was one of the finest performances seen in a Euroleague game this decade. In a key win over Dinamo Banco di Sardegna Sassari, Fischer scored 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting and pulled down a club-record 15 rebounds for a performance index rating of 43.
Despite missing time in the Last 32, he has continued with the big performances in the Eurocup, where his 2.3 blocks per game are the most in the competition. Fischer is also third on Unics with 9.6 points per game and grabbing a team-best 6.3 rebounds. Fischer has been one of the main reasons Unics made another deep Eurocup run and claimed a place among the best eight teams in the competition this season.
Fischer has played in Poland, Germany, Israel, Spain, Belgium, Ukraine and now Russia. And those experiences have changed his life. In fact, he contends that part of the reason he’s so good today is because of all the different places he’s played until now. “My game changed just with that experience, being coached by different coaches and playing with different players”, Fischer explained.
“Many people know me as defensive-minded player, and I try to use that in every game that I go in to,” he said. “I try to be as vocal as I can be, I try to be the best teammate that I can be, and when I use those tools, the team is at its best.”
So what is it about travelling that Fischer enjoys so much?
“Just going to different countries and experience different things, a lot of people cannot say they have done that. It’s just a blessing to be able to do that while playing basketball. It is very good for me.”
Naturally there is a downside to being a basketball nomad. Fischer acknowledged: “I always make friends everywhere I go. But the sad thing about it is that I am not in one place too long. So every place I go to, I meet people, but then move to the next place.”
With a decade of travels under his belt, Fischer remembers some teams, seasons and places more fondly than others. “My favorite team I played on was in Bilbao. The chemistry was just really good,” Fischer said of the 2011-12 season in which he helped Bilbao Basket reach Euroleague playoffs, where it lost in four games against the mighty CSKA Moscow.
“Year before that I was at Real Madrid and we went to the Final Four,” Fischer boasted with a smile on this face. “Also, playing with Maccabi Tel Aviv was just a great experience because the roster there was just unbelievable. Guys came from the NBA, guys left to the NBA. But for me to pick a [favorite] team, it would be Bilbao.”
Fischer and his teammates hope that this season will before long be remembered fondly atop the list. But first there is some work to do in the Eurocup Quarterfinals. In Game 1 earlier this week, Fischer grabbed 10 rebounds – the most of any player in any of the four quarterfinals – but it was not enough for Unics on its home floor to overcome Lokomotiv Kuban, which took a 9-point advantage into the return leg. However with Fischer’s presence in the paint and experience, Unics has every reason to remain hopeful heading into next week’s crucial return leg.