Alex Foster is a 23 year old 203cm forward that grew up in Portland, Oregon and also has the German citizenship will be starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the Rhein Stars Koeln (Germany-ProA). He played at Emory (NCAA3) from 2011-2015 playing a total of 108 NCAA3 games and as a senior averaged 20.1ppg, 7.9rpg, 1.0apg, FGP: 44.6%, 3PT: 39.9%, FT: 79.8%. He was able to improve his scoring and rebounding average each season at Emory. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Hi Alex thanks for talking to German Hoops. Where are you at the moment and how has your summer been so far?
Right now, I’m sitting in my college locker at Emory University in Atlanta, GA. I’ve had a great summer. Basketball keeps me busy, but I’ve also taken some nice weekend trips with my girlfriend.
Congratulations on signing your first professional contract in Germany with the RheinStars in Cologne. How did this whole contact come about? Stephan Baeck must have had you on his radar?
I have to give the credit to my agent, Patrick King. He worked hard to find the right basketball situation for me. Once he told me about the Rhein Stars, I knew that’s where I wanted to go. I was impressed with what Stephan has done to reestablish basketball in Cologne. The organization is definitely headed in the right direction and I’m excited to be onboard.
Having lived in Portland and Atlanta, now you will move to Cologne. What are you most looking forward to in your new home in Germany?
I’m excited to immerse myself with German culture: the food, the people, the traditions, and everything else that is great about the country. I’ve already been reading up on the city and it sounds amazing. I already know what my first two meals will be: a “Flönz woosch” and a “Halve Hahn”.
Cologne has a lot of basketball tradition. How excited are you to be able to play for this club that has so many high goals and what is your primary goal?
I’ve always had high expectations for myself and my teammates and I hope that the city of Cologne will hold us to a high standard as well. I want to make the fans proud by playing my hardest every game. My goal is for my team to win a lot of games next year.
How blessed you do you feel in general coming from an NCAA3 school and being able to play in the second division in Germany? It isn´t often that a division 3 player makes it to this high level?
I feel very fortunate to be where I am and I’m grateful for all of the help I’ve received along the way. I’ve had tremendous support from my girlfriend, family, and friends. There are literally dozens of people that have helped me get here. They know who they are; I owe them all a big thank you.
You have German roots and was born here, but left with one and a half to live in the States. What do you know about the country Germany and its basketball?
I’ve spent a lot of time with my family in Schwaben so I know about that area. Cologne’s pretty close, but I’ve only visited once. I travelled through Munich, Dresden, and Berlin last summer. I speak German pretty well and I cheer for Germany during the World Cup, obviously. Dirk was my favorite player growing up and I actually wrote him a letter when I was in middle school. He was nice to sent me back an autographed picture; I still have it. I’ve also spoken to Detlef Schrempf a couple of times. Schröder plays in Atlanta and Kaman in Portland, so I’ve seen them play a lot. I followed the BBL and Pro A playoffs, so I know who’s good.
Your joining a very interesting team with two talented Americans Lakeem Jackson and David Downs, a legend in the making with Bernd Kruel who could be your dad and started his basketball career when you were one year old, many young talented German players and CEO Stephen Baeck who won the 1993 European championships. What do you believe is your biggest strength that you will be able to give this team as a rookie coming in?
I think my biggest strength is leadership. I work on my game every day and also try to make my teammates better. The game is much easier if you can mesh as a team. Its important to understand your teammates strengths and put them in situations where they can be successful. Our team has a lot of talent and its important that everybody contributes.
You are a very versatile forward, but scoring and rebounding stand out. However what is a hidden strength in your game that doesn´t get noticed right away on the court?
My physicality. I try to seek contact in the post and gain good position.
You played four years at Emory(NCAA3). When did you start about possibly trying for a professional basketball career?
I always dreamed about playing basketball professionally, but it didn’t become a reality until last summer. Our team travelled to Germany to play against teams in Pro B and we won all 4 games. After that, I turned down a job offer in San Francisco so that I could pursue a contract.
You improved your scoring and rebounding average each season while learning the basketball trade at Emory. On what aspects of your game do you want to make the next step in at the professional level?
My defense. I want to be able to play multiple positions if my coach needs me to and in order to do so, I’ll have to guard the perimeter better. I’m also working on putting the ball on the floor so that I can make defenders pay for crowding my jump shot.
You had a great career at Emory, but was being named First Team All-American as selected by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), the first Emory player to earn that distinction since 1990 (Tim Garrett) your biggest achievement?
Actually, my proudest accomplishment is never sitting out of practice and playing in every game during my four years at Emory.
Every game your senior year could have been made into a book as something special seemed to happen. For example two highlights were your 38 points against Oglethorpe or reaching the 1,000 career-point plateau where you nailed a big three pointer with 41 seconds on the clock that snapped a 62-62 deadlock, giving Emory the lead for good in an eventual 71-65 win at Case Western. Was one of these your biggest senior highlight or was it another one?
Those were both very memorable games, but the games that stick with me the most were our wins in the Division 3 NCAA tournament. This year we came back from behind from behind to beat Whitworth. We were down by 10 with 7 minutes left. We stuck with it and ended up winning by one. That was definitely the highlight of my senior year.
How did Emory head coach Jason Zimmermann prepare you best for a professional basketball career in your four years at Emory?
Coach Z never made it easy for me and made me a much better player. If I wasn’t playing well, he’d make sure to tell me. He wouldn’t let me get away with anything; I had to run a lot as a freshmen and sophomore. At first I thought he was picking on me, but now I know he just expected more out of me. I learned to embrace that. It was hard at times, but I think that it will help me as a professional.
He got a few inches on you, but who would win a one on one in practice you or Austin Dague?
Dague’s going to be a very good player. You might even be interviewing him in a couple of years. But right now it wouldn’t be very close if we played one-on-one. He’s still my baby brother.
How does a summer work out day look like for you on and off the court?
I wake up at 6:30, eat some eggs and fruit. Then I go to the gym to lift weights. Afterwards, I do some form shooting and stretching. Then I rest for a couple of hours, before going back to the gym to do a full on-court workout. I’m playing in multiple summer leagues, so I might have a game that day. I also do yoga a couple of times a week.
You grew up in Portland, but lived four years in Atlanta. Was it difficult growing up with the Portland Trailblazers and them not having success?
The Blazers have had it rough, but I’ve stuck with them. Next year is going to be interesting without Aldridge. I’ll definitely be following their season.
What do the Atlanta Hawks have to do this offseason to make the next step and reach that Eastern final?
They have a great coach so I think that they’ll be good again next year. I don’t know if they’ll be able to keep Lebron out of the Finals though.
What was the last movie that you saw?
How to Train Your Dragon. I like all kinds of movies, but my girlfriend and I have been watching a lot of Pixar movies this summer.
Thanks Alex for the chat.