In today’s world of college basketball, it has become quite common for the star player and main attraction of a program to be a guy fresh into the college atmosphere, which was just the case last season for Kansas State’s Marcus Foster. As a freshman, Foster led the Wildcats in scoring at 15.5 per game, which was good enough to be the 12th leading scorer in a rugged conference that featured Andrew Wiggins and Marcus Smart. But heading into his sophomore season, finding some consistency will be key if he plans to transform a team that finished fifth in its conference last season into a realistic Big 12 contender.
Foster put up some outstanding statistics last season after scoring in double figures in 27 of his 33 games. During this span, he opened even more eyes by putting up at least 20 points eight times, including a 34-point explosion against the No. 15 Texas Longhorns.
But just as Foster saw nights where the rim seemed to expand with every flick of the wrist, he also struggled through nights where brick by brick, he built a stat sheet filled with a terrible shooting percentage. And right alongside the games where he carried the Wildcats to victory were nights Kansas State fell short due to Foster’s near absence.
For example, Foster shot 3-for-12 from the field in a loss on the road against Kansas, where he compiled only seven points. Two games later against West Virginia, he put up an extremely efficient 15 points on only 6-of-9 shooting. Three games down the road, he had only two points and went 1-for-8 from the field. Two games later, he displayed the incredible performance I recently mentioned against the Longhorns, going 13-for-16 for 34 points. This is only a small sample size to touch on, but it highlights Foster’s rollercoaster of inconsistency.
When you look at Foster’s stats as a whole, such as shooting percentages, they scream efficiency and productivity. He shot 42.3 percent from the field, 39.5 percent from beyond the arc and 73.4 percent from the charity stripe. Those are extremely consistent numbers to say the least, especially when you consider Foster was only an 18-year-old freshman.
However, freshman or not, Foster’s skill set is one that has placed him as the go-to guy and leader on a team that could very well find itself amidst a four- or five-horse Big 12 race next season. In order for that to happen, Kansas State will have to face some very loaded rosters with Kansas, Texas and Oklahoma twice, not to mention an Iowa State squad that will be right in the thick of things.
Of course, it’s highly unlikely Foster will put on a minuscule performance for each of these games, but it is possible and if the Wildcats want their name to be mentioned with the conference powers at season’s end, it’s time for Foster to find his key to consistency.