Michael Foster, one of the top prospects in the 2021 college basketball recruiting class, announced Friday he's forgoing the college route to join the NBA G League Ignite.
Foster explained his decision to Jason Jordan of Sports Illustrated:
Foster is a 5-star prospect and the No. 14 player in the 2021 class, according to 247Sports' composite rankings. He's ranked as the No. 5 power forward and the best player from Arizona.
The Hillcrest Prep standout's recruitment was sluggish compared to other top prospects, something he attributed to unsubstantiated rumors early in the process during a January interview with Jordan.
"I don't have all of the schools calling for me like that," Foster said. "I don't know why, but I've heard that coaches think they can't get me because I'm going pro. I've never even had a conversation about that, so I don't know where that could've come from."
The forward, who has all the tools to become a key player at both ends of the floor, told Jordan the reality was quite the opposite.
"I've always wanted to play in the NCAA tournament and compete in the Final Four and try to win a national title," he said. "I've never talked about overseas. But I can't control what college coaches think. I'm happy with the schools that are showing interest. At the end of the day, you want to be wanted."
The Milwaukee native does most of his damage in the paint, but he's started to showcase offensive range that stretches to the three-point line. His length and athleticism have also made him a high-end defender in high school.
He'll need to add more weight to his 6'9", 220-pound frame to contend with elite post players, and increasing his variety of offensive moves is also a work in progress.
Although Foster downplayed his interest in going straight to pro ball, he decided it was the best option. He'll try to earn consistent playing time with the Ignite to continue his development while awaiting the 2022 NBA draft.
The forward has the physical tools to hold his own against older competition, but it's hard to project how much playing time he'll earn straight out of high school in the G League.