Hailing from Hillcrest Prep, Arizona, five-star nominee Mike Foster Jr. decided to pursue the professional path straight out of high school. Rather than attend college, Foster brought his talents to the NBA G League and joined Ignite.
After spending a season with the Ignite, Foster was hoping to get drafted in 2022. While he wasn’t drafted, the rookie forward got an opportunity to join the Philadelphia 76ers for training camp in an Exhibit 10 deal.
A successful camp and promising preseason performance allowed Foster to earn a two-way contract with the Sixers. While he had to play with Philadelphia’s G League partner during the 2022-2023 season, Foster could also be called up to the main lineup.
In a way, Foster starts his career with the Sixers the same way as former G League MVP Paul Reed did. Two years ago, Reed landed a two-way deal with the 76ers after being selected in the second round. After dominating the developmental level, Reed picked up a standard NBA contract.
Now 19-year-old Foster is working to follow a similar path.
“I just tell him to keep working,” Reed said last month after Foster signed his new contract. “You know, there will be a lot of ups and downs, but you have to know that as long as you play the grind consistently, you’ll come out on top.”
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Foster made his Blue Coats debut last week. In his first action off the bench, the young big man scored 19 points in 24 minutes. The following night, Foster made his first start in Delaware and scored 26 points while racking up nine rebounds and four assists.
“I remember playing Mike last year, I think he played pretty well against us too,” Foster’s teammate Jaden Springer said earlier this week. “You see it now, those last two games, especially the last two games, he’s been good. Certainly [he looks improved]. Good to see.”
Ahead of Thursday night’s home opener in Delaware, Paul Reed spoke again about Foster as he faced the rookie at camp a number of times during the offseason. While Foster wasn’t with the Sixers long, Reed saw enough to feel confident that the talented center is something of a jack of all trades at the position.
“He’s got this little turnaround middy that’s hard to guard,” Reed said. “It’s pretty special. I have a feeling he’s a good goalscorer. A three tier scorer. He’s still young and he still understands the game. I think he can sort of do everything.”
Once again, Foster did an excellent job on Delaware’s starting lineup. In 27 minutes, Foster accumulated 23 points Thursday night. While the Blue Coats failed to win, Foster stood out alongside his Sixers teammate Springer. Foster will try to keep the ball going Saturday when the Blue Coats again host the Capital City Go-Go at Chase Fieldhouse.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him on Twitter for live updates: @JGrasso_.