The Santa Clara Men’s basketball program has seen its share of alumni make a difference at the next level. Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, Four-time NBA Champion Kurt Rambis, Dennis ‘The Tree’ Awtrey, a cog on the Seattle Supersonics Championship team of 1979, and NBA all-star Ken Sears, the first basketball player to grace a Sports Illustrated cover, all wore the Bronco Red and White in college.
But not since 1998 has a Bronco made the leap from the WCC to NBA. In ’98, it was Marlon Garnett, a shooting guard who had paired in the backcourt with Steve Nash, who was signed by the Boston Celtics after going undrafted, despite winning the WCC player of the Year in 1997. Garnett didn’t last quite as long as another Celtic with the same last name, as Marlon played in only 24 games before being cut. Nash, a year earlier, was the last Bronco actually drafted, going 15th overall to the Phoenix Suns.
Now, 15 years later, another Bronco guard hopes to take his game to the highest level. Kevin Foster, who broke Rambis’ scoring record and Nash’s made 3-pointer record during his 4+ seasons with Santa Clara, has been working out with several NBA teams. The Milwaukee Bucks, the Washington Wizards, the Golden State Warriors, and Houston Rockets have all worked Foster out in preparation for the June 27th NBA draft. Foster, a Houston native, has attended two camps with his hometown Rockets. While these workouts often bring in 5-10 players for a glorified scrimmage, the thought of Foster going late in the second round or signing as an undrafted free agent is refreshing for the Santa Clara program. The Warriors, who have shown some interest in the Bay Area college product, hold no picks in this year draft. Foster’s NBA ceiling is likely that of a role-player a la Gary Neal.
Foster’s career with Santa Clara was one of spots of greatness and spots of despair. While he crushed many longstanding SCU records, he did so with the added benefits of playing additional post-season games in the CIT and CBI tournaments, which is an opportunity many other Bronco greats did not have. His shoot first mentality off-put many Bronco fans who saw favorable frontcourt matchups forgotten in favor of constant, and sometimes ill-advised, 3-point attempts. Further, Foster will be remembered for his DUI arrest which cancelled out most of his Junior season. I am proud of the hard stance the school took following the offense, and it certainly leaves a black mark next to his name that may prevent his jersey hanging from the rafters of the Leavey Center down the road. Despite the hype and the 25+ points he often put up, Foster never took the Broncos to the NCAA Tournament or even the NIT, or finished higher than 4th in the WCC. But all that may be forgotten, or somewhat forgiven, if he can work his way onto an NBA roster.