Fizer, Floyd Reunited With Bulls

Friday, June 30th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

CHICAGO (AP) — Before he ever played high school basketball, Marcus Fizer had already made his choice of coaches. He wanted to play for Tim Floyd.

And now he gets that chance once again, reunited with the man who recruited him and coached him at Iowa State for one year before leaving for the Chicago Bulls.

While Fizer developed as one of college basketball's top players, helping the Cyclones get within one win of the Final Four last spring, Floyd suffered through his second season of one-sided losses. His two-year NBA mark is just 30-102.

Fizer, selected fourth in Wednesday's NBA draft, wants to help Floyd experience being a winner once more.

``I know it's been completely frustrating to see him walk off the court a lot of nights and understand how much it hurts to lose so much,'' Fizer said of Floyd.

``I watched him wanting to win so bad and not having the resources to do it. I could still see the fire burning in his eyes.''

Before joining the Bulls, Floyd's only losing season in 12 years of college ball came in 1997-98 when the Cyclones finished 12-18 in Fizer's freshman year.

``I hate to lose and one of biggest things that has weighed on my heart and always made me feel down is that his first losing season ever came with me playing for him. It has always been my desire to come here and make up for that,'' Fizer said.

Fizer became acquainted with Floyd before high school through Floyd's wife, Beverly. Beverly Floyd's grandmother was in a nursing home in Arcadia, La., and her caretaker was Sheila Frazier, Fizer's guardian.

At the time, Floyd was the coach at New Orleans and when his wife was showing her grandmother the school media guide one day, Frazier asked what it was. Then she wanted to know if Beverly would talk with Fizer, who at the time was a budding player.

Seeing the media guide and meeting the coach's wife, Fizer was hooked immediately.

``He apparently carried the media guide around like a bible for four years,'' Floyd said. ``He always wanted to go play for me because of Bev.''

And when Fizer developed into a top college prospect with many big-name schools recruiting him, his choice was simple when Floyd called.

``He said, `Coach you don't have to worry, I'm coming,''' Floyd remembers. ``He turned down a lot of things from other schools to come and so you feel this special bond. It was not a popular decision for him at that time to go to Iowa State.''

Now they are reunited and their relationship is close to father-son. When Floyd gets tough on Fizer it won't be a big deal. ``We're close. He'll be able to handle it. We go back too far,'' Floyd said.

For example, Floyd challenged Fizer after he'd played in only a couple of college games.

``I said I thought he'd never be the player he could be if he didn't rebound at a high enough level,'' Floyd said. ``Then he went out the next game and got 21 rebounds.''

Now Fizer, 6-foot-8 and 260 pounds, is leaner and stronger and ready for the NBA after three years of college. He'll have to learn the small forward role because his customary power spot is already manned by Elton Brand.

But Fizer, who averaged 22.8 points last season, knows he can change because his coach did, too.

Floyd was a jacket-thrower on the sidelines during his college days. In the NBA, he keeps his coat on most nights.

``I knew he could do it if he really put his mind to it,'' Fizer said with a laugh. ``At Iowa State it wasn't 30 or 40 seconds before it came off. It's a little different at this level.''