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Struggling Toilers Eagerly Await Arrival of Fisher

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

At the beginning of the 1994-95 school year, Manual Arts Coach Randolph Simpson received a big surprise when 6-7 sophomore Travis Reed decided to transfer from Crenshaw.

But, Simpson got an even bigger surprise when 6-11 junior Brian Fisher decided to come to Manual Arts as well.

“I was surprised to see Brian,” Simpson said.

“I became excited when Brian said he was a junior. I’m going to be more elated when he’s on the court.” Fisher is recuperating from an injury to his hand and likely won’t play for a couple of weeks.

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It wil be the first high school action for Fisher, who attended Inglewood High his freshmen year, though he did play for the Rockfish Traveling team in 1993.

In 1994, Fisher went to Louisiana--where he attended high school his sophomore year--with his father to take care of some personal matters and came back late in the year when they were resolved.

After his arrival in Los Angeles, rumors circulated that Fisher might be headed to Crenshaw.

“A couple of people approached me from Crenshaw and I thought about going there,” Fisher said. “But I chose (Manual Arts) because I like the basketball program, (and) the coaches are real serious about academics.”

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“We’re committed to academics,” Simpson agreed. “We told him he had to get the grades right or he couldn’t play.”

Now that he’s able to play, the mood at Manual Arts has changed.

The 8-10 Toilers have suffered through a disappointing season, but are eagerly anticipating Fisher’s arrival.

“Everybody’s excited to have him come,” Reed said. “He’ll have a great impact (on the team) and will be a big force inside.”

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Simpson intends to put Fisher in the starting lineup at center and move Reed to power forward. Reed will also play some guard with 6-5 forward James Agnew’s return to the team from an ankle injury.

“Travis will play on the outside a little more,” Simpson concluded. “He’ll be able to use his jump shot now and we’ll run the break effectively because Brian can run the floor real well for a big guy.”

Fisher was to have suited up Friday against University, but he cut his left hand on a glass table Monday at home.

“My shooting hand is OK,” Fisher said. “I’ll be back in time for the playoffs.”

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