Foster one of Charm City's Emerging Prospects

Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) sophomore guard Tyler Foster is emerging.

BEL AIR, Md. -- Gilman (Baltimore, Md.) is starting to emerge as more of a prep basketball destination, and it can thank two sophomore guards for help in leading the way.

While the Greyhounds are still young, and their top senior and all-around prospect, forward Kai Locksley, puts football first year-round, they are building more of a local name thanks to the infusion of said sophomores.

Last year as freshmen, guards Tyler Foster and Donald Duncan debuted in the Gilman backcourt and showed flashes settling into their new roles.

Foster, up to 6-feet-5 now and a tremendous athlete at combo guard, and Duncan, more of lead guard at 5-11 with quicks and blow-by ability, know about Maryland and vice versa. The Terps have checked out Gilman and been in touch, led by Baltimore recruiter Bino Ranson, while the two youngsters have visited campus this year unofficially to check out the program.

This week, after Gilman took 18-1 John Carroll (Bel Air, Md.) to the wire in a close loss to open the season, we caught Part II of Gilman-John Carroll at the Bel Air school. This time it was basically no contest, as JC's size and aggressive zone defense shut Gilman out in a 72-49 rout that was mostly over in the first quarter as Gilman could get few clean looks, and trailed 21-5 at the end of a brutal first stanza. Meanwhile, JC senior guard/Bucknell-bound Kimball MacKenzie bombed five three-pointers on his way to a 28-point effort to lead all scorers.

Still, we had a chance to break down the two Gilman sophomores, despite the lopsided contest, starting with Foster.

Foster, as did all the Greyhounds, struggled offensively finding his range, shot selection and any openings in the JC zone, which at times had two 6-9 defenders on the backline negating takes to the cup, while Gilman was also stone-cold from deep. Foster got frustrated early on trying to dribble drive and force shots against the zone, missing his four attempts on an array or mid-range contested jumpers and floaters.

Meanwhile, he missed his first open three-point look in the second half. Foster would not score until 3 seconds remained in the third quarter, and that was on three free throws as he was fouled hoisting a trey. His first field goal did not come until 5:55 remained in the game, when he netted a sweet pull-up jumper on the left side of the lane.

But it was pretty much famine the rest of the way for Foster and the Greyhounds, as he finished with 5 points, 3 rebounds, and four turnovers as things got a bit out of control at times trying to force the action, or find seams in the JC zone that just weren't there. At times he tried to do too much, be it spin moves or what not, and lost control of the ball and had difficult, contested shots clank around.

While long and athletic and with a frame that's still growing/filling, Foster was a young guard (at least in this game) still trying to find his place and "feel" in the Gilman offense. The Gilman guards also got lost at times trying to check the JC three-point shooters, and MacKenzie was wide open on four of his five three-point bombs. While Gilman did cut it to 34-21 with a late rally to end the first half, they could never get in an offensive flow again, nor staunch the JC long-range sniping.

JC freshman lead guard Immanuel Quickley, now starting with senior Michael Asemota out with a broken wrist suffered versus Calvert Hall last week, finished with 9 points (including two treys), 4 rebounds and 4 nifty assists as his dribble-drive game got cooking, setting up teammates for easy buckets and even no-look passes.

We like Foster's size, length, burst, ability to look and pass over defenders, and create space for his shot. But, as with many sophomores, his game (at least projecting ahead to the major college level) is still a work in progress.

It was a tough, overall, gauge game, as little could go right for the Gilman offense or Foster, but the basic skill-set is there. Locksley, with starting center Devery Hamilton (1 rebound, 0-1 from floor) mostly ineffective, had to do the dirty work inside, and was knocked around pretty well by some of the JC towers like 6-9 Mike Tertsea and 6-10 Isaac Bassey. Locksley led Gilman with 9 points and 6 boards, but it was a rough night for him as well from the floor (3-10).

Foster is a prospect that no doubt bears watching, and Maryland will, like other Charm City underclassmen such as Myles Douglas at Friends (Baltimore, Md.) and Kodye Pugh at Boys' Latin (Towson, Md.), among others. Schools ranging from Maryland to Georgetown to several ACC schools and even Stanford are keeping tabs on (and offering) some of these Baltimore youngsters, and they will be household names the next few years as their games and resumes continue to expand.

Foster, with his size, length and tremendous athleticism, will be a guard many will be tracking to see just how high his ceiling may go, as he refines and expands all the little things in his game.

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