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Foster Loyer’s recruitment, through the eyes of his father
Former Detroit Pistons coach John Loyer has always been a part of his son’s basketball life.
Foster Loyer was born just outside Cincinnati, where John was an assistant coach for the UC Bearcats from 1989 to 1999. A few years later he was whisked off to Portland when John took a job with the Trailblazers. From then on, it was a basketball life for Foster. He was always in the gym watching games, working as a ballboy or shooting around at practice.
But when it came to Foster’s college basketball recruitment, John stepped back. Though he would continue to be a part of his son’s development as a player, John didn’t want to sway Foster one way or another — especially when he had prior relationships with so many coaches, including Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and his assistants.
“By being a coach, you’re involved, but he knew what he wanted to do,” John said. “I’ve tried to be involved in his basketball side of it to prepare for it, but he’s going to college, not me. I’ve tried to stay out of it, give any guidance to any questions he might ask. But he’s a pretty level-headed guy. He could figure it out.”
Early on in Foster’s recruitment, Michigan State emerged as the favorite to land the Clarkston (Mich.) point guard, a 4-star prospect in the 247Sports composite. It surprised no one when he committed to Michigan State on Nov. 22, 2016, nor when he signed with the Spartans on Nov. 8, 2017. But it felt good for his father nonetheless.
“As a parent, you just want your kid to go someplace where he’s gonna be happy, be well taken care of and be coached,” John said. “There’s not a program that I’ve felt did those three things better than Michigan State. And there’s a trust factor by knowing their track record, by knowing them on and off the court. I was sold pretty quickly.”
Now Foster has set his recruitment aside and focused on school and basketball. It seems to be working out. The 6-foot floor general has been on a tear, leading Clarkston to an 8-1 start in its search for a second straight state title. He and the Wolves have done it all without fellow Michigan State signee Thomas Kithier, who had been expected to play for the Wolves before being ruled ineligible for what the Michigan High School Athletic Association controversially ruled an athletically motivated transfer.
On Wednesday, Foster dropped in 31 points for Clarkston against Bloomfield Hills (Mich.), according to the Oakland Press. He nearly outscored the Black Hawks on his own in the 62-35 win. Having matched his future assistant coach, Dane Fife, on Clarkston’s all-time leaderboard with his 202nd 3-pointer, he’s inching ever close to Fife’s brother Dugan, who has the record of 212.
— Clarkston Basketball (@ClarkstonBball) January 4, 2018
“He committed to us pretty early also, so that negates some of the recruiting attention you get,” Izzo said of Foster in November. “Some of these kids wait until the last second. I just know this: As a student and as a player, and back to the [late former Michigan State coach] Jud Heathcote theory as a coach’s son — his dad coached in the NBA and in college — I feel very fortunate with what we got, and I wouldn’t trade him.”
Though John hasn’t been with the Pistons since 2014, his job as a scout with the Los Angeles Clippers allows him to stay in the Midwest. And without a strict schedule, he doesn’t have to miss big events such as Foster’s signing ceremony or a Clarkston rivalry game.
“It’s actually one of the better parts of my job,” he said. “I can kind of schedule what I need to do around some events. … My job gives me some flexibility. You don’t have many seniors, so it’s kind of nice to be a part of it.”
He expects that to stay the same when Foster goes off to college. It doesn’t hurt that Michigan State has a handful of players he likely would’ve been scouting regardless, though it remains unclear who will be around next season.
John doesn’t expect watching Foster in a packed Breslin Center in East Lansing to be any different from watching him at Clarkston or in an empty gym. Regardless of the environment, Foster stays calm. His Michigan state-record 119 straight made free throws proves that.
“He’s a pretty confident guy,” John said. “Pressure in situations like that never shook him up. He’s been in an NBA arena his whole life, so nothing shakes him up.
“I think it’s kind of one of his strengths,” he added of Foster’s smaller stature. “He’ll figure it out. Even playing AAU, when you’re playing against some of the best players in the country, it takes him a little while to figure it out. But once he figures it out — size, height, quickness — once he figures it out, he’ll be fine.”
Michigan State basketball signee stat tracker
We’ve updated you on Foster Loyer. Now it’s time to check in on the other two Spartans signees who hit the hardwood over the last week.
- Four-star Grand Rapids (Mich.) Catholic Central forward Marcus Bingham Jr. scored 13 points, per the Grand Haven Tribune, in an 80-39 win at Spring Lake (Mich.) on Friday. The Cougars moved to 4-1 on the season.
- 3-star Ben Davis (Indianapolis) wing Aaron Henry recorded 12 points, 5 assists, 4 rebounds and 2 blocks on Tuesday in a 67-42 victory over Fishers (Ind.), per MaxPreps. On Friday, he led his team to another win with 15 points, 6 rebounds and 4 assists as the Giants beat North Central (Indianapolis), 68-53.
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