Marcus Foster (191-G-1995, college: Creighton) is a 27 year old 191cm guard from Texas that is playing his 5th professional season and first with BC Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL). Last season he split time with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA G League) averaging 16.4ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 70.4%, then played with ASP Promitheas Patras (Greece-A1) averaging 12.1ppg, 2.8rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 66.7%, 3PT: 35.5%, FT: 66.7%. In 2020-2021 he played with Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (Greece-A1) averaging 6.0ppg, 1.2rpg, 2FGP: 48.5%, 3FGP: 41.7%, FT: 55.6% in the Euroleague and 5.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.5apg, 2FGP: 55.9%, 3FGP: 7.4%, FT: 64.3%, in the Greek league and in Feb.’21 moved to Turk Telekom Ankara (Turkey-BSL) averaging 8.2ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 66.7%; and 8.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 39.1% in the Basketball Champions League. In 2019-2020 he played with Hapoel Unet Holon (Israel-Winner League) averaging 20.2ppg, 3.5rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 73.9%; and in the BCL averaged 17.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.9%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.1%. He split his rookie season with DB Promy (South Korea-KBL) averaging 25.2ppg, 5.2rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 75.1%, and in Mar.’19 moved to Champville (Lebanon-LBL) averaging 10.7ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg. He began his basketball career at Wichita Falls High School and then played 2 seasons at Kansas State averaging 15.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 73.4% and 12.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 70.3%. He then finished at Creighton University averaging 18.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 70.1% and 19.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 74.4% as a senior. He spoke to eurobasket before a Basketball Champions League game in Germany against the Telekom Baskets Bonn.
Thanks Marcus for talking to eurobasket. Where are you at the moment and how is basketball life treating you?
I am in Vilnius Lithuania getting ready to finish the important part of our season. We have a big stretch coming up in the Lithuanian league and also in champions league. Doing good would be a lot better if there wasn’t so much snow here.
Your playing your first season with BC Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL,). What kind of an experience has it been playing in Lithuania, the small country with so many talented ballers. What have you appreciated most about the country and it’s basketball?
The experience is going better than I thought it would. The Lithuanian league is better than I thought it would be and what I have heard from other players I’ve talked to that played in the lead in the past. For me being in a smaller country it is a little bit different I’ve been lucky enough to play in some great places like Greece, Israel and Turkey. The city of Vilnius is a very beautiful place, the thing I love most about the basketball is the love of the game from the fans and not just Rytas fans but fans from other teams.
BC Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL) is one of the top teams in Lithuania and have a rich history. What does it mean to you to wear it’s jersey?
For me having to play for Rytas and knowing the history of the club makes it even more special for me to step out on the court every time and give it my all for the city. And I understand how important it is to get the club back on top in Europe
BC Rytas Vilnius (Lithuania-LKL,) is fighting for the country title with Zalgiris and a number of other teams. Your having success with 2 Americans and a number of Lithuanian role players. Have you ever seen the team basketball focus so dominant as with this organization?
It is very different for me being on a team that only has two Americans but with this team we do have great Lithuanian players which makes it easier for me to be successful having such a good team surrounded by me. It’s like every club it’s always important to focus on basketball to have the most success you could have.
After playing your first 3 seasons overseas and having played NBA Summer League, you played last season in the G-League with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers (NBA G League) averaging 16.4ppg, 3.6rpg, 3.9apg, FGP: 56.5%, 3PT: 38.4%, FT: 70.4%. How high can one value a G-League title considering all the ups and downs and comings and goings that an organization has to deal with?
With the team I had it was obvious from the beginning that we were the best team in the G league. So having the championship was special because of the team we had with such great players. Each player on the team could have been on another team and been the main guy but we came together and all had one goal of winning the championship.
Nowadays the League and G-League have gotten so young that one rarely sees older guys. But you had the fortune being teammates with Gerald Green and helping win a title. What will you always remember from him as a teammate?
G league is a very young League it’s a good development for guys that are trying to make the NBA. When I found out the Gerald Green would be my teammate I was very excited because he was always somebody I idolized with his style of play. I remember I used to tell my friends if I ever would play in the NBA I would want to have the role of a Gerald Green. When I remember most is from day one I am just wanting to win the championship. He always talked to us about how close he came to win the NBA championship and now after his career in the NBA was over he just wanted to have that championship to finish his career
You had a really consistent G-League season and really upped your stats in the last 2 months. Do you feel like you were ever close to a NBA call up?
Yeah for me towards the end of the season everything started clicking and it became easier for me to play my game. Yes I was close to a 10 day and two-way with the Rockets. Because of the season I had my agent had some conversations with some general managers and they definitely considered signing me to some contracts in the NBA for this season.
You had a good NCAA career and have played well as a professional player. Is Europe now your main focus or is the NBA still a reality for you? Older guys from overseas have made the NBA in recent years.
For me the NBA is a goal but it’s not my focus though if I do achieve it I will definitely be happy but if I do not achieve it it would not make a difference to me. My main focus is just trying to enjoy the game of basketball because some people don’t get to do what I do every day which is wake up and have basketball as a job.
After having your break out season in Israel, you then played the 20-21 season with Panathinaikos OPAP Athens (Greece-A1) averaging 6.0ppg, 1.2rpg, 2FGP: 48.5%, 3FGP: 41.7%, FT: 55.6%;in the Euroleague and 5.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.5apg, 2FGP: 55.9%, 3FGP: 7.4%, FT: 64.3%, in the Greek league and in Feb.’21 moved to Turk Telekom Ankara (Turkey-BSL) averaging: 8.2ppg, 1.4rpg, 1.8apg, FGP: 49.0%, 3PT: 30.0%, FT: 66.7%; and in the BCL averaged 8.8ppg, 2.7rpg, 2.8apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 40.6%, 3PT: 26.1%, FT: 39.1%. How tough was this season? What did you learn about the season and yourself?
This was one of the toughest years for me basketball wise because it was the first true taste of European basketball. I was in two situations that did not fit me at the time but being a younger player at the time I was still trying to figure out how to be successful on a high level. I learned that playing at a high level like Euroleague everybody is very talented but the reason why guys stick around is because they do more than one thing and they bring value to their team. So what I learned is every situation is not going to be perfect and I have to figure out ways to stick by working on my weaknesses.
Despite losing a Euroleague game to FC Barcelona, you scored 24 points. Was that one of your best games overseas?
I’ve had some big games overseas scoring 30 points but this game will always be one of my favorite games I’ve had when playing a team like Barcelona and you are one of the top scores from your team that I will always be a special moment for me being so young at the time.
In 2019-2020 you played with Hapoel Unet Holon (Israel-Winner League) averaging 20.2ppg), 3.5rpg, 3.4apg, FGP: 58.3%, 3PT: 42.3%, FT: 73.9%; and in the BCL averaged17.8ppg, 2.9rpg, 3.8apg, 1.1spg, FGP: 61.9%, 3PT: 35.4%, FT: 73.1%. Is it fair to say that Israel was your best season so far as a professional. Did the league suit your game or what do you feel was the reason for your domination?
That was definitely the best season I ever had all around. the Israel league is more of a offensive League and fast paced so that was one of the reasons why I was so successful but also the coaches I’ve had that season helped me and put me in situations for me to be successful.
Even though you lost both games to Euroleague Powerhouse Maccabi Tel Aviv you belonged to the best players on the court scoring 20 plus points in both games. Did you feel like you had arrived overseas with these performances?
Yes because that year I felt that team could have made a run to the final four.
You played your rookie season with DB Promy (South Korea-KBL): 51 games: Score-4 (25.2ppg), 5.2rpg, 3.8apg, FGP: 58.5%, 3PT: 32.0%, FT: 75.1%, in Mar.’19 moved to Champville (Lebanon-LBL) averaging 10.7ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.3apg, 1.0spg. What do you remember being your wake up call to being overseas where you knew that you were far away from home?
.Playing in South Korea is a different experience so from day one I knew that I was a overseas basketball player because me and the other American on my team were the only ones that spoke English not even my coach spoke English so I had a Korean translator on the team
How much fun was Korea? You scored 47 and 42 points. Did it sometimes feel like you were a man among boys?
Korea will always be one of my favorite years just because it was really just waking up and playing basketball. We really didn’t run much plays and you were playing three or four games a week so I barely practiced, and they were forcing me to shoot 20 shots a game and with my style of play it was easy for me to have big games like that.
You had a solid Portsmouth Invitational Tournament (Pre-NBA Draft) averaging 13.3ppg, 3.3rpg, 5.3apg, 1.7spg, FGP: 42.9%, 3PT: 31.3%, FT: 62.5% and played NBA Summer League in Las Vegas, NV (Sacramento Kings): 3 games: 1.3ppg, 2.0rpg, 3.3apg. What do you remember about this time. What did you learn about the NBA process and what feedback do you remember getting from the Kings?
Portsmouth was a good start to my whole pre-draft process it was my first time being in NBA setting. I Just remember being nervous because it was the start of the NBA process and I wanted to do very good. I always think about my first summer league with the Sacramento Kings because I got hurt with my hamstring and I ended up only playing one game in summer league. I remember leading up to the first games I was doing very well I was one of the best players on my team and was going to get a lot of minutes but got hurt right before the games. I remember the kings telling me if I would not have got hurt I possibly would have played myself into a two-way contract. I got a training camp invite from the kings and I always regret not going because they had a lot of interest in me.
You began your basketball career at Kansas State averaging 15.5ppg, 3.2rpg, 2.5apg, FGP: 42.3%, 3PT: 39.5%, FT: 73.4% and 12.5ppg, 2.3rpg, 1.9apg, FGP: 44.2%, 3PT: 34.7%, FT: 70.3%. You had 2 good seasons but were criticized in your second for focusing too much on the NBA. What did you learn about yourself in these 2 years and what positives did you get out of Kansas State?
For me nobody ever thought I would make the NBA so when that started going into my mind and people are saying I was a draft pick it was hard for me to stay the same person that I was. If I would’ve played how I played my first season at Kansas State I would probably have been a first round draft pick but what I learned from that situation is everything happens for a reason what you have to do is learn from your mistakes and continue to grow not just as a basketball player but as a man.
You then went to Creighton. How thankful were you for head coach Greg Mcdermott for giving you the chance to play there and how did he groom and prepare you best for a professional career?
I’m always thankful for coach Mac, because he helped me in many ways not just on the basketball court. Basketball wise he is one of the best offensive coaches in America so his style of coaching fit how I played which made it easy for me to be very successful under him.
You had 2 great seasons averaging 18.2ppg, 2.9rpg, 2.4apg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 34.1%, FT: 70.% and 19.8ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 54.1%, 3PT: 41.3%, FT: 74.4%. What kind of player did you become at Creighton?
I became a smarter player and also a leader. My first year I took a lot of bad shots wasn’t a great defender and coach Mac stayed on me that off-season to become better at those two things which carried over to me being the leader of my team and having an even better year my second year
Do you still get asked about your magical buzzer beater against Depaul in the 76-75 win? What memories do you still have?
Every time I go to Omaha Nebraska people bring up that game and many others. For me it was a special game because it was the game I scored my 2000 point with that buzzer beater. I remember my close friend one of the managers on the team was keeping count until I made 2000 points I remember at shoot around him telling me you know you only need 29 points to get 2000 you might as well do it tonight and with that last shot at the buzzer that was 29 points so it was a special moment and great that my team won.
You only scored 5 points in your last NCAA game against Kansas State and hugged your ex coach Bruce Weber after the game. Did you guys wrap up the history you had at KSU over the years?
For me it was tough playing my old coach there was a lot of emotions there but ending my career like that will always be tough for me but it doesn’t determine the type of career I had with playing that game it was a good way to end everything and move on from the past.
Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Khyri Thomas?
I can’t lie it would have been even some days I would have good days against him and some days he would lock me up. Khyri Thomas is one of the best defenders I’ve ever gone against I was always glad that he was on my team and not having to guard me in real games.
Who is the best player that you ever faced in the NCAA that reached the NBA?
Marcus Smart is one of the best players offensively and defensively I’ve ever had to play. His energy and competitiveness is unmatched. He brings it every single game and this is why he is still in the NBA and a very important part of the Boston Celtics.
Please name your 5 best teammates of all-time?
Shane Southwell he was my teammate my freshman year at Kansas State and he believed in me when I didn’t even believe in myself
TJ cline my teammate from Holon. We spent a lot of time together which made our connection on the court very strong
Maurice Watson my point guard from my first year at Creighton. He was like a big brother to me and he taught me how to lead a team with my actions in my words
Ben Bentil and Ioannis Papapetrou my two teammates from Panathinaikos that year was very tough for me basketball wise like I said and they always made sure my head was in a good place because they knew how good of a player I could be so they guided me while I was there.
Please list your personal NBA Mount Rushmore?
Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Lebron James, Shaq, Stephen Curry
What is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all-time Jordan or Lebron and why isn’t Kobe mentioned more?
For me Kobe Bryant is the best player to ever play basketball. I am a big Kobe Fan and I personally never got to witness Michael Jordan play in his prime so I do not like to judge players outside of my lifetime so for me I always put Kobe over everybody
Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?
Yes I have seen coming to America and like every classic movie from the past I think it always should be left alone. Not many sequel movies are even close to the first one.
Thanks Marcus for the chat.