Marcus Fizer, Maccabi's man on the sidelines, stays in the picture

As Maccabi Tel Aviv prepares for Friday's Euroleague Final Four showdown with Montepaschi Siena, one roster member will have no choice but to continue to suffer the frustration of watching from the sidelines. After Tzvika Sherf took over as Maccabi coach on January 1 following the departure of Oded Katash, Marcus Fizer became the key member of a side which was on the up. In Euroleague games against Efes Pilsen and Unicaja Malaga that month the forward from Detroit began showing the confidence and skills which made him an attractive proposition when he was brought to Israel by Katash last summer, scoring 16 and 19 points, respectively. But the success disappeared all too quickly. After suffering a painful knee injury against Olympiacos on Valentines Day, Fizer knew he would be unable to play any further part in Maccabi's journey to Madrid. "It sucks," Fizer stated when asked how it feels to be an observer rather than a player. "It sucks right here not being able to play, and it definitely sucks not being able to go out there and help my team mates battle." The frustration has built for the former Chicago Bull in recent weeks, as he saw Tel Aviv lose three out of four league games following the dramatic Euroleague quarterfinal against Barcelona on April 10. "On an any given night teams definitely come out to beat Maccabi, There's no question about that, either on the road or at home," Fizer told The Jerusalem Post. "Teams put up their A game to get us and we [have] just got to do the little things we [have] got to do to beat these teams." Speaking to the Post after Maccabi's BSL defeat at Holon, Fizer noted just how tough the Israeli league has become. "We are not going to overlook anybody, and we need to play better than we did tonight," he said. "These are the ball games we've got to win to build up to the bigger things like playing in Madrid." With his lack of any direct influence on the plays, Fizer has become an analyst of Maccabi's performances, watching and advising before and after each game. Observing Fizer, it becomes apparent that, despite his inability to have any impact on the court, he still feels very much a part of the club which he joined less than a year ago. "I still try and give my leadership role as much as possible, talk to the guys and really try and stay in there," he explained. "I speak to our budding superstar [Omri] Casspi and let him know the things he needs to do to get better. I help any way I can. I mean, we came so far together as a team." Fizer is also sure he wants to continue playing at the team next season. "I love it. Tel Aviv is different to a lot of other places. I know there's a lot of bad things going on in the country, but there's a lot of bad things going on everywhere," he said. After three years at Iowa State University, Fizer was selected by the Bulls in the fourth pick of the 2000 NBA Draft. However, he failed to make the expected impact and developed a bad boy image. He says he has changed in recent years, and often speaks about the influence religion has in his life. When asked if he is into hip hop music like many other American basketball players, Fizer looks up and smiles. "I'm into hip hop but I mostly listen to gospel," he replies.