Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The big "what if . . . "

I love how the team has come together this season. Guys are understanding their roles and playing their parts. Leaders have naturally emerged. We've got our defensive specialists, we've got our shooters and our go-to guys in the paint.

But you've got to ask yourself this question: what if we had David Foster in the mix? We've seen what he can do and know what a difference maker he is on the defensive end.  He's frankly a blocking machine. As a sophomore in 2009-10, Foster set the Utes' single season blocks record with 115 -- an average of four a game, good enough for 4th in the country.  It also helped earn him the Mountain West Conference Defensive Player of the Year award. The following year he set the Utes' all-time career mark with 219 blocked shots. He also averaged 5.2 rebounds per game and earned All-MWC Defensive team honors for the second year in a row.

And remarkably, he set these marks while averaging just around 20 minutes a game.

My fondest memory of him came in a game against TCU during the 2010-11 season. Will Clyburn had just put the Utes ahead from the free throw line with nine seconds left. The Frogs then made a mad dash in the final seconds to try to win the game. The ball went to Hank Thorns who drove all the way to the rim. But Foster blocked his lay up attempt with one second left, and Utah held on for its third-straight win.

Foster sat out all of last year after injuring his foot in the exhibition game. He rehabilitated nicely and was poised for the senior year we've all been waiting for. But sadly, he re-injured his foot before the season began and was forced to end his college career.

But imagine what this team would look like with him healthy. His 7'3" presence alone would completely alter an opposing team's gameplan. Imagine how he would have added another dimension to our defense again this year!

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