Text size

Marcus Fizer has a problematic past, a future in Israel, and a huge $2-million, two-year contract. Despite the buzz generated by his signing with Maccabi Tel Aviv, nobody from the perennial Premier League champion bothered to speak to him directly. At least that is what Fizer claims.

"Nobody from Maccabi picked up the phone or spoke with me before I signed," Fizer told Haaretz on Saturday. "Will Bynum was the only person to call me, and he told me how great everything in Israel is. Did it surprise me that no one spoke to me? I don't know, man. They preferred to conduct the negotiations with my agent."

The decision not to speak directly with Fizer could be for two reasons: the sizable financial investment that Maccabi is making in the new player - and his problematic past. Fizer has been in trouble with the law and with his coaches on more than one occasion. His coach this past season at Spanish club Murcia describes him as talented, but with issues.

From a short conversation with Fizer, he seemed to be a little confused and under a lot of pressure upon arriving in Israel. "No question I feel a lot of pressure and anxiety, but my faith in the Lord leads me to believe that everything happens for a good reason," he says. "I also felt a lot of pressure last year before I arrived in Spain."

It is common for the born-again to mention God in every sentence. Nonetheless, Fizer does not hide what the supreme power is for a professional basketball player. "If Maccabi did not offer an 'NBA'-type offer, there was no chance that I would come to play in Israel," he reveals.

Fizer claims that his busy nightlife past is behind him. "In Spain, it was all about basketball, and in Israel I will do everything I can to live outside the Tel Aviv area, because quiet and peacefulness are very important to me."

When asked to describe his game, he does not display any false modesty. "I can do everything. Play with my back to the basket, get rebounds, score from halfway out, and move the ball around. I also don't have a problem taking shots from beyond the arc. I shoot from wherever God tells me to."

In the short time since he signed, Fizer learned a couple of things about his new team. "I know that they reached the quarterfinals in the Euroleague this past season, and that they have a very young coach. I hope that we can teach other all sorts of things about basketball."