Signing Day: Libertyville’s Emily Fisher, one of six local Big Ten recruits, signs with Maryland

Ranked 80th nationally by espnW/HoopGurlz in the class of 2023, Fisher is just one of several Big Ten recruits in Illinois’ exceptionally talented senior class.

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Libertyville’s Emily Fisher, ranked 80th nationally among seniors, signed a basketball letter of intent with Maryland on Wednesday.

Libertyville’s Emily Fisher, ranked 80th nationally among seniors, signed a basketball letter of intent with Maryland on Wednesday.

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Emily Fisher was a veteran of the recruiting process by the time she took an unofficial visit to Maryland last year.

The Libertyville senior picked up her first Division I offer, to Iowa State, before she entered high school. The interest continued as she emerged as one of the state’s best players and developed into a multitalented 6-1 wing.

After the 2021 AAU season ended, Fisher got serious about narrowing down her college options. Maryland was one of the later offers she received and was her fifth unofficial visit.

“When I went there I honestly didn’t know much about them,” Fisher said.

But the feeling she got in College Park changed that. The coaches and players felt like family right away, and the Terrapins’ philosophy fit like a glove.

“The way they play is the way I play: fast-paced,” Fisher said.

That night, she called home. “I told my dad, ‘I think I could commit tomorrow,” she said.

That’s what happened. And on Wednesday, Fisher made it official by signing her letter of intent with the Terrapins.

Ranked 80th nationally by espnW/HoopGurlz in the class of 2023, Fisher is just one of several Big Ten recruits in Illinois’ exceptionally talented senior class. Two of her AAU teammates, Barrington’s Sophie Swanson and Hersey’s Katy Eidle, are heading to Purdue and Michigan respectively. Also, Carmel’s Jordan Wood is going to Michigan State and Benet’s Lenee Beaumont is headed to Indiana. And Joliet native Kennise Johnson, who plays for Frankfort-based prep school Example Academy, is going to Iowa.

It’s an interesting career path for Fisher, who thought her athletic future would be elsewhere,

“I originally was going to be a soccer player,” she said. “That was my goal, to go to college for that.”

But one of her soccer coaches helped introduce her to hoops through a friend. “I joined their team in third grade not knowing a single thing about basketball,” Fisher said.

But she was a quick learner and the game grew on her. She continued with soccer into high school but now focuses on basketball.

“I just found more joy in practicing and the game environment,” Fisher said. “I felt the relationships I had in basketball were a lot closer.”

She was on Libertyville coach Greg Pedersen’s radar while still in middle school. When Fisher got to high school, he saw up close what the hype was about.

“When she came in as a freshman, she had an amazing ability to finish moves around the basket,” Pedersen said. “She was just as good at that point as most varsity seniors.”

Fisher kept working on her game, and last year she led the Wildcats in pretty much every category, averaging 14.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 2.6 steals and 1.2 blocks per game.

“She’s one of the best shot blockers I think (Lake) County has ever seen,” Pedersen said.

Combine that with her ballhandling skills and ability to box out, and it’s no wonder Fisher is an elite prospect.

And she’s also popular with her teammates, who voted to make her a captain.

“She is vocal,” Pedersen said. “She’s probably the most vocal we’ve had, in an encouraging role.”

And after one more prep season, Fisher’s ready to take her game to a bigger stage.

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