Friday, October 9, 2015

Cats’ Foster impressing teammates

Everywhere Marcus Foster goes, he seems to leave a good impression.

He was the Class 3A Player of the Year in Texas, a Parade All-American and an MVP in both Texas all-star games he played in. And now he’s already catching the eyes of his Kansas State coaches and teammates.

He’s known as a scorer, with the ability to shoot pull-up jumpers from anywhere on the floor and a knack for driving to the basket. At 6-foot-2, 200 pounds, he’s shaped similarly to Oklahoma State star Marcus Smart.

Thomas Gipson described what he’d seen of Foster’s game so far, pulling the name of a future NBA Hall of Famer.

“I like all the freshmen, but I think Marcus Foster has stood out the most to me,” Gipson said. “He is really good, I mean, I am not comparing him to Kobe (Bryant), but his style of playing is similar to him. He is electrifying.”

K-State coach Bruce Weber compares Foster, more subtly, to Rodney McGruder. That’s just what the Wildcats need too, as McGruder is gone along with his 15.6 points per game.

“He has a lot of similarities to Rodney,” Weber said. “He can really score, he loves to score and score in a lot of ways. He shoots it better than we thought. He has a good body and he is pretty athletic.”

When players leave high school and go to college, there is typically a learning curve, even if just a slight one for the star, one-and-done type players. Weber said most guys have to learn how to actually run or be a part of an offense rather than just use their talent to blow past players and go to the basket.

The same has been true with Foster, but Weber said he is learning quickly.

“When you talk about learning the game and concepts, they’re things they never even thought about in high school — they didn’t have to,” he said. “They just went and beat somebody and dunked on them. That was what their concept was. Now, (Marcus) has picked up some ball-screen action and some different things like that.”

Senior guard Will Spradling said Foster has seemingly fit right into Weber’s motion-offense scheme.

One part of Foster’s game that might be slightly overlooked is how well of a defender he is. Weber said Foster has taken it upon himself to improve defensively and has the body to be a pretty good one.

The K-State coach said he will be a player they need on both sides of the ball.

“He has the physical ability, the physicality to do it,” Weber said. “He is good. I would be surprised if he is not on the court quite a few minutes, but if he is not then I will be honest, we are probably in some trouble because he is the one that can give us some scoring that maybe the other guys could not.”

Past Foster, the Wildcats will have four other freshmen they will likely have to go to this season in order to have depth. K-State will have Wesley Iwundu and Jack Karapetyan to fill in at the forward spots, and Nigel Johnson and Jevon Thomas at guard.

Weber said they all bring little things to the team that will be needed.

“Wesley is kind of a hidden gem, he grew late,” Weber said. “Coach (Alvin) Brooks is from Houston and his dad said we might want to check this guy out because he just grew five inches (from 6-2 to 6-7). He is very athletic and can do a lot of things. Nigel is a little tougher than I had thought. We still do not know if he is a point guard, a two or combo. Jevon is good. There is no doubt.

“Jack, he really has not played since he got here. He broke his foot in the summer and had it operated on. We are just kind of waiting and I know he is very anxious to get going. I know we are way more athletic. Those guys are way more athletic. We are a lot quicker than we were, we definitely replaced that.”

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