Tracking the College Stars of the Future
Tuesday, May 28, 2002
By Thad Mumau
Foster looks to 'four-peat', then head East
Keith Foster did not decide on the spur of the moment to be an East Carolina
Pirate. The fact is that the 6-9 Winston-Salem forward feels as if
Greenville is his second home.
"Iíve been there enough to feel that way," laughed the young man who has a
chance to make history next basketball season. "Iíve been visiting East
Carolina since my freshman year in high school, and Iím real comfortable
with everything about the basketball program and the school."
Thatís why Foster made a commitment to ECU earlier this month, giving Bill
Herrion and his staff a nice head start on the 2003 recruiting class.
Although he is not ranked in the Prepstars.com top 100 juniors in the
country, Foster is listed among the "best of the rest" rising senior
He averaged over 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocked shots last
season in helping Winston-Salem Reynolds win its third North Carolina 4-A
championship in a row. Foster has played on all three of those teams. No one
has ever played on four 4-A title teams in the state.
He played in all 29 of Reynoldsí games as a freshman and scored 10 points in
the title contest. He came off the bench and played a key role and did
likewise his sophomore season, averaging about nine points and five
rebounds. He started this past season.
"The biggest improvement I made between my sophomore and junior years was
that I got stronger," Foster said. "That made me more confident, and I was
more aggressive. I attacked the glass harder at both ends."
Travis Holcombe-Faye is one of the reasons ECU landed Foster. The Piratesí
guard, who will be a senior next year, is a graduate of Winston-Salem
Reynolds, where his brother, Whit, played his final season this year.
"Keith is real good friends with Travis and Whit," Reynolds coach Howard
West said. "So, over the years, Keith went with Whitt quite a bit to see
East Carolina play. Keith knows all of the East Carolina players and he
likes everything about the school."
Travis and Whit aren't the only attractions that draw Foster Down East.
"I like the coaches," Foster said, "and I am very comfortable with the
program. They play a fast pace, and I like that. I like to run. I like a lot
of good competition, too, and Conference USA has that.
"I have felt for a long time that I wanted to go to East Carolina. Iíve been
going to see them play since I was a freshman. I liked it there all along.
When they offered (in early May), I committed right away."
West sees Foster as a versatile big man who is becoming a better perimeter
"I think Keith will be a three/four in college," West said. "He will play
big forward. How much he plays small forward depends on how much he develops
his perimeter game. His off-season goal is to work on perimeter skills,
improving his ball handling and increasing the range on his jump shot. A big
thing is improving his ability to guard quick forwards out on the floor.
"Keith is very athletic. He can really run and fill the lane. Next season,
we are going to have him do even more of that. He is a real good jumper and
has a vertical (leap) of 36 or 37 inches. He has real nice stuff down low.
He spins and finishes with a dunk. He has a nice turnaround jump shot from
12-15 feet and a jump hook.
"He has to get stronger, and heís working hard to do that. I donít think he
is finished growing. He has been lifting. He has broad shoulders and a frame
that will hold a lot more weight without affecting his quickness."
Foster says bulking up is among the items at the top of his agenda.
"I would like to report to East Carolina my freshman year at around 245
pounds," said Foster, who weighs 215. "I want to be able to bang with the
"I like to be versatile, though, and Iím working on facing the basket more.
I tried three or four three-pointers last year and will probably be shooting
more of them next year. I want to handle the ball better, too."
Foster received attention from Connecticut, Tennessee and Virginia Tech in
addition to East Carolina, with Tech the only other school to offer a
Letters of intent cannot be signed until November, and coaches have been
known to continue trying to court prospects who have made commitments.
Apparently that wonít happen with Foster.
"He wonít be accepting any more mail or phone calls," West said. "Keith is a
Meanwhile, Foster is thinking about earning one more championship ring. With
returning teammates like 6-8 Reyshawn Terry, 6-9 Eddie Green and 6-7 Justin
Bolander, the nucleus is there for Reynolds to four-peat. Nine of 13 players
on the team will be back.
"My only goal is to win another championship," Foster said. "The individual
things will take care of themselves. But I do plan to be a better player.
Thatís what Iím working for."
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