Off the Court:

(Photo by Jessica Hoffman)



Nine credits. Thats all that Jeff Foster needs to complete his degree in finance and he has every intention of making it a reality. The 6-11 center-forward calls it his unfinished business.

Foster, who studied at Southwest Texas State, (now known as Texas State) said he plans to continue working on his studies during the offseason so he can claim that diploma. He has been steadily working on accomplishing his goal.

While Foster realized at an early age that he was pretty good with numbers, he also learned he had a talent for basketball.

"I started playing when I was five, but my story is more unique about how I got here, Foster said. "Like every kid, I thought I would be here one day playing professional basketball."

Not until his senior year in high school did he even play varsity basketball.

I only played one year of varsity, not at all my sophomore year, said Foster, noting that other potential pro basketball players were probably going to NBA camps and getting recognition as All-American players by that time.

He wasnt a big man then. In fact, he played point guard in high school. But he worked on making that childhood dream come true. There were times I wanted to do other things," he said, "but I stuck with it and continued to grow.

Foster's passion for basketball developed as a boy who idolized the NBA players in his hometown of San Antonio. I was fortunate to go to games as a kid," Foster said. "I would wait around to get autographs and to sneak into the locker room."

Foster, who recalled going to at least one-fourth of the Spurs' home games, had a routine: "My parents would drop me off at about 5 o'clock so that I could get autographs before the game. I would kind of meander around," he said.

At the time, David Robinson was playing for the Spurs. He was a big name for fans in Texas. While Foster was trying to corner one of the players during one of his many trips to the arena, he came upon the star player.

"I got a chance to speak with him," Foster said. "To me, it was like meeting God."

Because of those earlier contacts with players, Foster said he always makes sure that he tries to make time for fans.

Being able to have contact with those guys made a big difference to me, thats why I always stop and sign autographs," Foster said. "I once was that kid. I understand the importance of it,"

Although his parents stressed the importance of education, they also encouraged Foster to pursue his interests in sports. In addition to basketball, he also swam and played soccer and baseball. He also likes to golf. He had a short-lived experience with football: I played two weeks of football and broke my arm. I tried everything.

Like his parents, Foster said he has every intention of encouraging his son and daughter to pursue their interests. I will support them in whatever they decide, he said.