Marcus Fizer, Jr., son of former NBA player Marcus Fizer, is emerging as one of the more talented wings in the 2023 class due to his unique combination of physical tools, fluidity, and budding perimeter skills. His first love growing up was soccer, but since moving to Las Vegas, Nevada he has narrowed his focus to basketball. He and his family connected with Coach James Feltus in middle school, and Fizer has elevated his game to new heights ever since while playing for the Las Vegas Punishers on the Under Armour circuit.
Since really starting to take the game seriously, his basketball IQ and overall upside have continued trending up, which makes him a player to watch as he continues his development. He recently announced his commitment to Nevada State College Prep, where he plans to finish out the remainder of his high school tenure.
Fizer’s college recruitment is just getting started as he currently sits on an offer from Pacific. This won’t be the case for long, as college programs will soon get a look at Nevada Prep’s featured player in more of a national high school schedule-type setting.
In this interview, Fizer talks about his traits as a player, his family history in sports, his goals moving forward, how he’s improving as a player, his recent recruitment, his off-court interests, his thoughts on current events, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Marcus Fizer, Jr., from Las Vegas, Nevada:
Pro Insight: Talk a little bit about yourself — what’s your background? How many siblings do you have?
Marcus Fizer, Jr.: I was born in Chicago, Illinois, and stayed there until about first grade and then moved down to Louisiana with my dad. That’s where my dad and mom got married. Before all of the basketball stuff I played soccer down there for about two or three years, then came up here [Las Vegas] my fourth grade year and settled down until like sixth grade and then started playing middle school ball. I met Coach James from my older brother who is in college right now. I started playing with him [Coach James] around last year for AAU, which was my first year of AAU. It was pretty hard just playing against all these other kids who have been playing for a while, but I have a lot of people with professional backgrounds in my corner, like my father. He helps me a lot, and tells me a lot about things like nutrition and stuff, even though I don’t be doing it sometimes, but he’s one of the most helpful sources I got. Coach James, of course, he really helps us, it’s a true blessing to have him. He really takes his time to help get us exposure and to college and stuff.
PI: How has soccer helped your basketball game?
MF: I played soccer from first to third grade. I played left field striker. Something about it was fun, just running up and down the field and scoring a goal. When I watch soccer on TV it was rare to score a goal so that was my mindset every time. Me and my dad had a bet that if I got a header I would get $20. I would say soccer definitely helped with everything now. My lateral quickness could get better, I was faster when I was younger, but I’m just going to have to work on that. My dad has me training in the pool and stuff. My mom played college basketball, I forget what it’s called, but I know she played D-1 and ran track and stuff. She says she’s the most athletic person in our family — she was crazy fast. I just got to keep working and get to that point where I can be better than both of them so I can put myself and my family in a position to be great.
PI: For those who aren’t super familiar with your game, what are some of your greatest strengths?
MF: I’m very good on the offensive end. Sometimes if coach needs me I can run the point guard. I don’t need to do anything fancy, at all. If I have a little guard on me I can just back them down and look for the open man, try to look for the big guy in the post, get easy shots up, drive to the basket. There have been a couple games where we’ve done that, but I just try to play team ball. I don’t like playing selfish, at all — that’s not me, that’s not what I do. That’s just how my personality is. I don’t like talking about people and I also don’t like people talking about me, that’s just how I am, I try to keep it real with everybody.
PI: What about some things you still need to work on?
MF: Defense. Defense and a little bit of my jumping, but defense is the biggest one.
PI: What would you say is most underrated about your game? In other words, what do you think you don’t receive enough credit for?
MF: Probably the jumping [explosiveness]. It’s just been hard with the injuries, a whole bunch of leg injuries and stuff. But the other day when I was jumping trying to catch some lobs and stuff everybody was surprised. I would have been doing that, but the shin fractures, the calf, the knees and stuff, it’s just been tough.
PI: What are some of the injuries you’ve had over the past few years?
MF: I fractured both of my shins, but I was playing on it for months and I didn’t realize it so it kept getting worse. Then the first tournament we came back from Kansas City for the Under Armour session, I twisted my ankle really bad and I was out for about three or four weeks. Then I came back, but we really struggled that year, probably the roughest time I’ve had as an athlete, but that’s where my dad comes in with all of his game readiness and all. He really cares and really sees where my future can go, but the first thing that matters is your health and your body. I never understood that because usually when I was younger I would just run on the field or court without stretching or anything. I heard people say that if you don't stretch that you would get hurt, but I never thought it would actually happen. I just thought it was mental or something, but it’s not a joke at all. Once I sprained my calf at practice in the middle of the season — that was a game-changer for the entire season. We were having a good season and we were playing a good team the next day. I had a great bounce back game the day before against Clark High School, I think I had 17 points. I was kind of in a slump and for that [calf injury] to happen it was kind of deflating. I really wanted to get back out there, but my dad said “it’s all about your future and not right now.” He didn’t want me to get hurt at that specific time where it can just — God forbid — end my career. All he is about is just development until when you get older. He didn’t care if I played Varsity, Freshman, or JV, it just mattered if I was getting better at that point. If I was getting healthier, stronger, jumping higher, that’s what makes him different from a lot of people in Vegas that just want you to come play. He wants to make you better.
PI: You’ve picked up an offer from the University of Pacific — what’s the current update on your recruitment?
MF: I don’t think I’ve heard from any other colleges, yet. I’m not sure if my dad or Coach James has, but they don’t tell me that stuff. They tell me to stay in my place or something like that [laughs], that it’s none of my business. I leave that stuff to my dad a lot because he’s been through all that stuff already. It’s great to have him and Coach James get calls from coaches and stuff like that. We had a couple coaches come out to practice in high school during some of our scrimmages, but that’s about it.
PI: What was the feeling like getting that first official offer from Pacific University?
MF: I was actually speechless, I didn’t know what to say. It made me realize that I can really do something, and the thing was like I wasn’t at my best point playing basketball. I’m not where I can be right now, I’m probably not even half-way there. I know I can be better. I know I can be better than my dad and better than a lot of people in the country, but I’ve just gotta keep that work ethic to keep pushing and pushing. But it was super surreal, I never thought of me even playing basketball. My dream was to play pro soccer, but to switch sports like that and to get an offer showed that I can really go places.
PI: What made you transition to basketball and what do you love most about the sport?
MF: We switched over to basketball because there were no soccer teams to apply for, I was just playing middle school ball and during the summer I wasn’t doing anything. Until Coach James put up a team for our age group around the end of seventh and beginning of eighth grade year. That’s where I really started pushing, I would say that was the hardest time because he pushed us hard in the hot gym, just running and running, that’s it.
PI: Being that your dad [Marcus Fizer] played professionally and was a lottery pick, how has he helped you? What kind of resource has he been?
MF: Yeah he has very high expectations. He expects me to get better. If I’m on a game, he doesn’t like me playing video games at all, he wants me outside shooting, running around, in the pool doing workouts and stuff. I see what he’s talking about now. He knows the business aspect of basketball, how much money you can make if you get older, you can possibly be a one-and-done now and go straight to the draft and make a whole bunch of money. Knowing how to manage that money or invest that money, so that when you’re done playing or God forbid something happens, you and your family are set up for the rest of your life. So that’s really a blessing to have.
PI: Do you have a dream school?
MF: I guess I would say Iowa State, but I think second would be Kentucky or Duke. As long as I’m playing that’s good, if I get to that next level that’s fine by me.
PI: What do you find yourself spending the most time on outside of basketball?
MF: I just be at home on a game, I’m not much of a “going out” person. How my family is, they’re very paranoid where I go. When we go somewhere we think like two steps ahead. You know how groups of kids go and they get in trouble, I’m not like that, but sometimes I would want to go just to hang out, but my parents wouldn’t want that because they know how stuff goes down and they wouldn’t want to put me in that position at all. I don’t really do nothing, but be at home, even during the school year when people go out with friends and stuff, I’d just be at home doing homework. At school I don’t really talk to anybody, but the basketball team and some friends, but the only thing I focus on is to play basketball for the school.
PI: Which video games do you play?
MF: I like PS4 and I play Call of Duty and NBA 2K, but I probably play Call of Duty more seriously than 2K. They [my parents] try to get me off that game, like a lot. I probably play a little bit too much.
PI: Which players do you model your game after or enjoy watching?
MF: The three players that I watch the most are LeBron James, Kevin Durant, and now Jayson Tatum. Jayson Tatum almost has the same playing style as LeBron, but he’s more of a shifty type of guard, he can bring the ball up at 6’8-9” and the shots he be doing and stuff is ridiculous. When my dad first saw him he already knew he was going to be a pro and he’s already an All-Star. That’s the type of game I would want. I want to be as strong as my dad, but have handles and stuff like. I can handle the ball, but I need to work, I have the handles just naturally. That’s my weakness, my weakness is just relying on my talent too much rather than going out and just working hard, because right now the older I get I’m seeing talent is going to get you nowhere anymore, you just gotta keep pushing to work hard. That’s really the place I would want [be like Tatum], or even like Paul George, 6’9” shooting guard who can put the ball on the ground and defend, that’s something else. You really have to have the speed and quickness to be that fast at that height because now at 6’9” you’re a big, but to be that height and be a guard is impressive.
PI: What are some of your short term goals?
MF: The main goal right now is to try and get ready for the season. From what I’ve heard we’re going to have a really tough season. The only thing we can do right now is just prepare. I try and get a workout in every day — it can be tough and mentally draining, but if you keep going and going you just get used to it, so I try to push and motivate myself every day to just keep going. Some days you feel great and some you don’t and I just try to have that mindset that if you keep working it will all work out in the long run, so it’s a mental thing for me.
PI: What motivates and inspires you to want to be great?
MF: I would just say my family — just to see my dad when he played, I want to do the same thing and help my family out when I get older so they don’t have to worry about money problems and debts and stuff. So if I could just help with all that, buy family members a house and all that...I also have goals like if we’re driving down the strip at night I always look at the lights and I’m like “man I would love to bring my family up to these expensive hotels for like a weekend or two.” Just to let them have a great experience, to be having fun and all that. Just thinking about that and knowing that you made it, you really did it, and to have no regrets at all — that’s one of my main goals and something that really inspires me.
PI: What are some of your long term goals?
MF: To just keep getting better every day, as a player and even as a young man. I have a lot of mentors and coaches in my corner who don’t just teach me how to play basketball, they teach me how to live life — to walk the streets, and how to handle yourself and all that. It’s a blessing to have people like that in your corner because my parents really didn’t have something like that...so they made it for me to try and put me in the best position. Sometimes it may be hard because I don’t agree with what they say, but they tell me that they know more than me because they’ve lived longer, so I’ve just got to listen to the people who are there giving me advice and helping me. So that’s really helpful.
PI: Tell us something about yourself that most people have no idea about.
MF: People think that I go out and stuff like that, but I just stay at home. I don’t be chasing girls and stuff like that, I just focus on what I got to do to get me better for the future. If it’s doing my homework or doing a pool workout or something like that...I don’t chase the fame, that’s not who I am really. I would say I’m kind of like my dad where none of that stuff really matters and it’s all about developing and trying to get to that pro level. All the rankings and stuff, it is kind of important, but like you said, NBA scouts don’t really care about rankings, they just care about how you play and if you can get them wins and all that. So that’s the only thing I really care about. I don’t go to malls or anything, I don’t get in trouble at all, I don’t do any of that stuff. Like at school all I do is put my backpack and headphones on, listen to music, and walk to class. I’m rarely late because I don’t need to talk to nobody — just do what I got to do, and then when that class is over, just keep on going. When I’m in school I tell people I don’t have time to be messing around because I got to go to class. If you have too many tardies then you can’t play and that’s what I’m here to do is play. I’m not here chasing all the girls or fame, that’s not what I’m here to do, I’m here to play. I don’t really use social media, like I don’t use Snapchat at all. Snapchat can get you in a lot of trouble, that’s why I don’t use it. My parents taught me that a lot of people get in trouble from ‘memories’ off your phone and stuff like that. I don’t really be doing all that stuff because I know what’s going to happen.
PI: At the end of the day what do you want to be remembered for?
MF: I want to be remembered as the person who just had everybody’s back. If you need somebody, I’ll be there for you. With me and in our household, loyalty is a huge thing. I would want to be remembered as the man who was always there for you, who never put you down or let you go down by yourself. It’s kind of hard to explain, but that’s how my personality is...my dad, my mom, that’s how we all are, we’re just one big family. Even if we’re not blood brothers you’ll still be my brother and we’ll still have your back every day. It’s been like that since I was born. I’ve never liked seeing people feel down on themselves and all that. Life is real short, you can’t be depressed like that, so I love helping people feel better. So that’s the main thing I want to be remembered for.
PI: Do you have any thoughts on the current events going on?
MF: It’s tough to think about, as a kid you really don’t think about stuff like that. As a kid the police are there to help you and then you see all of the African-American males and females being killed off and stuff like that...it’s so surreal it makes it seem like you’re dreaming. It’s crazy to learn everything that fast. My parents trained me a lot when I was a child, to be respectful and all that to cops no matter what, unless there was like a problem going on, it’s kind of hard to explain. But with what’s going on we can’t separate from each other — that’s what the problem is — we’re having people that are going to have problems with races and stuff, we can’t fall apart. That’s what I’m seeing a lot of on the news, people are falling apart with races and stuff, what we have to do is to come together during this time because we’re already having a hard time with the coronavirus so having this is just going to make it worse. If we just come together and be one family and help each other out then all of this stuff will be ok. The more conflict, the more it’s going to get worse every time. Like I said, it’s kind of hard to explain, but there are so many thoughts on what’s happening. Like the protesting and destroying the buildings and all of that, some of that stuff really doesn’t help because we’re trying to prove a point, but we’re also being destructive as well so I don’t really agree with that. If we just protest peacefully I think it’ll show on our side of things how much we care about each other and not just something bad happens and we just go destroy things out of revenge. Revenge is not the answer all the time — revenge will only put a band-aid on it, but it will never fix it in the long run. Maybe if you get revenge it will feel good for about a year, but as you get older you will start regretting it and it’s going to have a heavy toll on you — you’re never going to have that weight off your shoulders.