Shan Foster: Rise of the house of Usher

<B>Shan Foster</B> continues to surprise. In conference games thus far, the 6-6 Vanderbilt freshman leads the league in 3-point shooting with an astounding .652 percentage. Can he keep it up? In this VandyMania exclusive, the Usher look-alike talks about his blistering shooting, and about his adjustment to life as a VU student. <i>The Commodores (11-6, 2-2 SEC) face Georgia (6-8, 0-4) Saturday in Athens at 3 pm CT.</i>

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Q: Shan, you guys really started out well that first week of the SEC season. You shot well, and you rebounded well. Then last week things didn't go so well and the other two teams seemed to turn the tables on you. Looking back on it now, what do you think made the difference between that first and that second week? And what has been the emphasis in practice this week?

Shan Foster: Definitely, defense. The first two games, we played defense very well. The second two games we kind of let the other teams get comfortable. So that's something we have to correct this week. We feel like we've got it corrected now.

Q: Suddenly you're starting to get some attention for your three-point shooting. Coming into this season, did you have any idea you could shoot from outside at this level with this kind of percentage? What has been the biggest factor in your success?

A: Definitely, confidence. The team has a lot of confidence in me right now, and the coaches do as well. The key for me, definitely, is working hard in practice, just trying to get it to happen with some consistency.

Q: Did you really expect to be starting, and playing this much this early?

A: No, I really didn't.

Q: When you were in high school, did you shoot as much from outside as you are doing now?

A: Not at all. In my high school I played center. I always played with my back to the basket.

Q: The team has been struggling a little bit lately with scoring from inside-- there hasn't been any talk, has there, of letting you try out some of your old post moves? Or is that something you're going to leave with the post men?

A: Laughs. I think I'll be leaving that to the big guys.

Q: No plans right now for you to move from the 3.

A: Nooooo, sir.

Q: You have developed just a deadly eye from the corner. That's a tough skill for most players to master. What do you think goes into making a good corner shooter like you?

A: Just repetition, confidence. And I guess work ethic.

Q: Your bio mentions that you're a good singer and also piano player. I've read some about that in the paper, but could you talk a little about your history with that? How'd you get started singing and playing, and what do you do with it today?

A: I was brought up in a church, and I was always encouraged to sing in the church. I was always around music. I kind of just stuck with that, and I kind of taught myself how to play. I used to play for the church, but right now I just play for fun.

Q: Do you ever do it when you're just sitting around to entertain your teammates?

A: Oh, every now and then. I have a keyboard in my room.

Q: Back in the fall of 2003, you were the first athlete, I think, to commit to play at Vanderbilt after the announcement that the athletic department was going to be restructured, and that there would be no more athletics director. Did that come up at all when you were being recruited? Was that a concern for you?

A: Of course. It was something that was being talked about a lot, and of course I wanted to know what was the deal about it. The coaches pretty much let me know what was going on. They talked about the positives of it.

Q: What did they say to you to persuade you to see it in a positive way?

A: Just that they were bringing athletics back into the university, so that there wouldn't be so much separation between academics and the athletic department. They would kind of be brought together, and that you would get to know people a lot better that way.

Q: Well, you chose Vanderbilt, so that must have appealed to you. Have you found it to be pretty much what you expected?

A: Definitely, that and more. That and more. I love the people here. I love the environment. So far, it's been absolutely great.

Photos by Neil Brake, Vanderbilt Athletics.


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