Newcomer Spotlight: Alex Foster

Early returns on Texas Tech's newcomers are very positive, and among those newcomers, Alex Foster could ultimately be the most impressive. Playing his first true game at the collegiate level, Foster scored five points on two-of-three shooting, and snagged seven big rebounds in only 12 minutes of play. Of those rebounds, four came on of the offensive glass.

Early returns on Texas Tech's newcomers are very positive, and among those newcomers, Alex Foster could ultimately be the most impressive. Playing his first true game at the collegiate level, Foster scored five points on two-of-three shooting, and snagged seven big rebounds in only 12 minutes of play. Of those rebounds, four came on of the offensive glass.

"Alex was impressive," Texas Tech head coach Tubby Smith said. "I thought he really banged inside."

When Foster initially signed with the Red Raiders, he was somewhat slight of frame, and video of his play showed a finesse player. Foster figured to play small forward for Tech, at least in the earlier portion of his career.

That no longer appears to be the case. Foster is solidly put together (he looks bulkier than his listed 225 pounds), and is comfortable bumping and grinding down on the blocks. Consequently, look for him to be the primary backup for Jordan Tolbert at the four, and at six-foot-eight, there is no reason he couldn't get minutes in the middle, to the extent that Tubby Smith utilizes a true center.

When you see Foster play, you won't see a soaring aerial artist who does his damage above the rim and in the clouds. Rather, you'll see a surprisingly polished player who lets the game come to him and knows how to play it. He is a player who establishes position well, and uses his physical strength craftily to move opposing players around. Think Larry Bird rather than Charles Barkley.

Naturally, Foster will only improve. And as he does, a frontcourt of Foster, Tolbert and Jaye Crockett could be a common sight for the Red Raiders. At any rate, it certainly bodes well for Smith to have brought in a young "big" who could anchor his program in the years to come.

"Alex came in probably out of shape as far as his body fat, he's been down and he's probably made the biggest improvement from anybody I've seen in a long time," Smith said. "He's stepping up in practice. He's skilled and he's a good rebounder, a very tough post defender -- that's his strength."

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