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Foster Makes the Most of His Busy Summer
August 9, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
K-State men's basketball guard Marcus Foster has kept quite busy this summer.
The rising sophomore from Wichita Falls, Texas, has traveled coast-to-coast to attend back-to-back prestigious basketball camps where he had had the opportunity to sharpen his skills for the upcoming 2014 season.
In June, Foster was one of just 12 college guards selected to participate in the Nike Guards Academy at Harwood Arena in Union, New Jersey. The camp was directed by former NBA head coach John Lucas and the college guards worked with current NBA players Kyrie Irving, Michael Carter-Williams and Trey Burke.
Foster, one of only six underclassmen at the camp, had an impressive showing at the Nike Guards Academy, and from there, was invited to attend the LeBron James Skills Academy from July 9-12 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
One of only 30 college invitations, in Las Vegas, Foster spent the three days growing his basketball IQ alongside four-time NBA MVP LeBron James.
"I learned a lot, especially being around LeBron - you can learn so much from him," said Foster. "We had a big Q&A the first night, and then the next two days he was there just hanging out. He was in our huddles, and he would talk to us. It was just fun being around an NBA player like that."
At the LeBron Skills Academy, the 30 collegiate players from around the nation spent four days participating in competitive skills workouts and 5-on-5 games. According to the camp's website, the players had the opportunity to "take what they learned at the previous skills academies (the Nike Skills Academy for Foster) and implement them into a team setting on the floor."
Foster said he focused on everything at the camps. He said he took it all in and used every moment to better his game.
"I was thinking, 'What can I do here that I can better myself for my team next year?'" he explained. "I was working on a lot of stuff to get myself ready for the season. That will help me with being able to help my team."
Going into the 2014-15 season, Foster will be looked to as one of the Wildcats' key components to success.
Last season, the 6-foot-2 guard turned heads for the Wildcats after working his way to one of the best freshmen seasons in K-State men's basketball history. He led his team in eight categories, including scoring (15.5 points per game), double-digit scoring games (27), 20-point games (eight), field goals (177), 3-point field goals (79) and free throw percentage (73.4).
Foster was selected to the All-Big 12 Second Team by both the league coaches and Associated Press, joining Michael Beasley as the only true freshman in school history to earn recognition to the All-big 12 First, Second or Third Teams and the first rookie guard.
"At the LeBron camp, for my game, I was just trying to be a better point guard," Foster said. "I was one of the shortest players there, so it was hard to go and try and score when there were a big 7-foot players around me. I was really working on being a little more of a point guard, shooting better floaters, completing better passes and always keeping my head up."
Along with improving his game, getting to know the other college players at the LeBron James Skills Academy was also a highlight of the camp. Of the 30 college players invited to the Academy, the Big 12 Conference was the most heavily represented with six players at the camp. Foster was joined on the court by Perry Ellis III (Kansas), Buddy Hield (Oklahoma), Georges Niang (Iowa State), Kelly Oubre (Kansas) and Juwan Staten (West Virginia) on the courts.
"The Big 12 had the most players there, and it just shows how talented the players are in this conference and how good this conference is going to be next year," said Foster. "We spent a lot of time together. We all know each other, but you know, I spent a lot of time with all the other players too. I got to know about a lot of players that I didn't know about before, and I got to know guys who I had only seen play on TV. It was great to meet some new people."
While Foster laughed and said he was never a LeBron James fan growing up (Kobe Bryant was more his cup of tea), he explained after the camp, he has nothing but respect for James as a basketball player.
"When I was on his team, he made the game feel way easier," said Foster. "I was really happy with how I played and it was a good experience overall."
Foster can't wait to get on the floor and put his improved skills to use. With the opportunity to spend time among and learning from NBA greats this summer, Foster said the academies only grew his anticipation for the upcoming season - one he believes could be a great one for the Wildcats.
"This team is going to be very different than last season," concluded Foster with an added excitement in his voice. "Individually, roles are going to be different because we have new players. I won't have to go out and score as much because we're going to have more offensive power, and I don't have to go in and rebound. This team is very different, and I think we're all used to each other enough to go in and win next season. I'm so excited for that, I can't wait."
With that, Foster walked into the gym, grabbed a basketball and began shooting with his teammates.