OSU Awaits Letter From JUCO Foster

It seems just a mere formality before Chipola (Fla.) Junior College shooting guard Je'Kel Foster will be an official member of the Ohio State men's basketball team. Click here for more on OSU's latest find.

It was widely reported late last week that Je'Kel Foster, a 6-2 shooting guard from Chipola (Fla.) Junior College, had become the newest member of the Ohio State men's basketball team.

From all indications late Monday, that still seems to be the case. According to sources, Foster has signed his letter-of-intent to OSU and mailed it to his mother in Mississippi for her signature. Once the family forwards that letter to Ohio State, he will become an official member of the school's recruiting class.

Foster, a first-team JUCO All-American who averaged 16.8 points a game this season for Chipola, selected the Buckeyes over Illinois State, Minnesota, St. Louis, Washington State and South Florida.

Foster also garnered a lot of interest from many more including Oklahoma, Kansas, Miami (Fla.) and St. John's among others.

Chipola head coach Chris Jans says that Foster brings a lot of intangibles to the Buckeyes that will potentially make him a fan favorite.

"He flat out is a winner," Jans said. "Je'Kel has a great sense for the game of basketball. He will hustle, he plays great defense, and he can shoot. He just completely is a sound all-around basketball player."

Foster also helps alleviate a few of the Buckeyes' main weaknesses from this past season. First and foremost, Foster is an athletic guard who will buckle down and play above average perimeter defense, something Ohio State was dearly lacking this past season.

"Je'Kel is capable of guarding four positions on the floor," Jans said. "He has great instincts and he plays with a lot of intensity all the time."

Foster gives the Buckeyes a good outside shooter as well as a dependable player from the charity stripe. Foster, while noted as being somewhat streaky from three-point range, shot 41.2 percent on the season. He also shot 83.7 percent from the free-throw line.

Phog.Net's recruiting analyst Eric Bossi, told Kansas subscribers that Foster is a nice fit for Ohio State.

"I like Foster a lot," he said. "He is rock solid, athletic and is within range to pull as soon as he crosses half-court. He can be a little streaky, but his ballhandling ability and strength allow him to attack the rim with aggression when his jumper isn't falling."

Foster, a native of Natchez, Miss., won the Panhandle Conference player of the year, player of the year in the JUCO ranks in the state of Florida, as well as being a first team All-American.

Foster joins the Buckeyes primarily as a shooting guard but capable of playing point guard or wing if necessary.

"He's very versatile," Jans said. "He is a natural shooter who does a nice job of getting his teammates involved."

Foster's well-rounded game is evidenced by the fact he averaged five rebounds as well as five assists a game. More impressively, he only averaged 1.7 turnovers a game— over a 3-to-1 assist-to-turnover ratio.

Foster's signing leaves the Buckeyes with only one scholarship remaining for 2004. It is believed that the right of first refusal for that last scholarship will indeed go to Malik Hairston, the Insiders' number two ranked small forward who still lists the Buckeyes along with UCLA, Kansas, Oregon and Oklahoma as his potential options.

Hairston is believed to make his decision within the next 10 days, following possible official visits to Oklahoma and Oregon next weekend. If Hairston signs elsewhere, 6-4 JUCO wing Roderick Trice is still a possibility for this year's OSU class.

Trice visited Ohio State over the weekend of April 10 and visited Minnesota this past weekend. Trice is an honorable mention All-American in the JUCO ranks, and averaged nearly 20 points a game for Georgia Perimeter College.

Foster joins Jamar Butler, Matt Terwilliger, and Jermyl Jackson-Wilson in a class that experts believe could be a top-10 recruiting class with the addition of Hairston.

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