AMES, Iowa (AP) -- When Marcus Fizer expressed relief at finally deciding to enter the NBA draft, he wasn't alone.
Anysha Ticer felt it, too.
Ticer, Fizer's fiancee, had watched first hand as he agonized over his future. So when Fizer stood before more than a dozen reporters on Monday to announce he would not return for his senior season at Iowa State, Ticer felt the pressure evaporate right along with him.
''There were nights that he was really, really tired,'' Ticer said. ''There were times I didn't know what to say to him. I can't imagine and I still probably don't know how much stress he had to be under.''
Now it's over. Fizer can concentrate on finishing the spring semester and getting himself in the best shape possible for the pre-draft camp and workouts with individual teams.
''Everybody wants to be one of the highest picks,'' Fizer said. ''That's what playing college basketball is all about -- to hear your name called up there by (NBA commissioner) David Stern to the team that is so interested in you.
''I played my last couple of seasons with the dream of getting to that point.''
Fizer's announcement came as no surprise.
His NBA stock rose throughout the season as he followed one big game with another in leading Iowa State to the Big 12 regular season and tournament championships. The 6-foot-8, 265-pound forward is projected to be one of the top picks in the June 28 draft.
''The timing's right,'' Iowa State coach Larry Eustachy said. ''He's certainly a lottery pick.''
Fizer has not hired an agent and said he was leaving open the possibility of returning to Iowa State next season if he felt that would improve his position in the draft.
Eustachy was not counting on that happening.
''He's not coming back,'' Eustachy said. ''It's just hard for him to tell everybody this is it.''
Fizer averaged 22.8 points and 7.7 rebounds and shot 58 percent from the field as Iowa State set a school record for victories in finishing 32-5. The Cyclones' season ended with a 75-64 loss to eventual national champion Michigan State in the Midwest Regional final.
''I really think this is the time I can do all the things I've always wanted to do for my family,'' said Fizer, who has two children and a mother in Detroit he wants to help.
''I have a heart where everyone in my family is within it. It's going to be a comfortable feeling to know that I will have a chance to help all of them.''
Eustachy said it became clear as the season progressed that Fizer was ready for the NBA. When the two met to discuss Fizer's options for next season, Eustachy said he encouraged his star to turn pro.
''Really at the beginning of the year I thought Marcus would be back,'' Eustachy said. ''I didn't think he'd make so much progress. But he worked so hard and became such a force.
''I thought the turning point in his season was when he struggled against Drake and we really, really challenged him. Then he found out he could play right with Kenyon Martin in the Cincinnati game. I think he just kept making progress from then on out.''
Fizer scored 26 points on 12-of-19 shooting in a 75-60 loss to Cincinnati on Nov. 28 in the championship game of the Big Island Invitational. Martin, the national player of the year, scored 22 points in that game.
Fizer said he was grateful for Eustachy's support. The two shook hands and embraced as they traded places on the podium at Monday's news conference.
''I really didn't know what to expect when I met with him when he and I had our talks,'' Fizer said. ''When he told me he was encouraging me to go for the draft, that he thinks the time is now, it really touched my heart to see this guy is putting me before his own interests and his needs.''
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