KEVIN FOSTER, Roosevelt, Sr.
Probable college major: Pharmacy studies.
Movie: Teenager Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990 version). “I like the way the original looks better.”
TV show: Family Guy. Best episode: time travel.
Food; Pizza from Papa John’s. Spinach and garlic.
Homemade food: Pork chops.
Athlete: Kevin Durant. “I was going to say Rajon Rondo, but he left the Celtics. They’re my team. I don’t him in a Mavs uniform.”
Team: Seahawks. “I used to live in Seattle.”
Class: Math. Algebra II. “I’m decent at math.”
Teacher: “I don’t know. I don’t think I have one.”
Hobby: Call of Duty, Advanced Warfare. “My favorite one is Modern Warfare 2. I think I was in seventh grade. Playing with your friends was more fun in that game.”
Christmas present: 2012, my laptop, MacBook Pro. “Apple has a nicer design and is easier to use. I had an Intel one and it was junk.”
Best video game player on the team: Chaston Marcos. “He the best one in Call of Duty.”
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Sometime during a 25-point performance against Second Baptist of Houston, Texas, Kevin Foster confirmed what seemed possible.
The 5-foot-10 guard regularly exploded past Second Baptist’s taller guards, soaring to the basket and finishing at rim level against the their much taller rim protectors. By game’s end, the visitors pulled out a 74-68 win over Roosevelt, a team of 6-foot and under hoopsters.
Foster took his share of hits, too. Kailua laid him out fairly well in the final seconds with a foul, and Foster missed the next game during that ‘Iolani Classic. He returned to help the Rough Riders beat Fuxin (China) and was selected to the all-tournament team. In photos of the Classic’s best, Foster is right there in the middle, flanked by 7-footers from the mainland.
He found a home at Roosevelt, completing a circular route that led him to the Northwest, then Punahou, and then to the Rough Riders.
“Everybody knows, Kevin’s a special player. To me, he’s in the top five. I wouldn’t want anybody else,” Roosevelt coach Steve Hathaway said. “He has the heart. He has to guard the other team’s big man. He has to bring up the ball when Jake (Kawasaki) is not in the game, and he’s playing a minimum of 28 minutes a game.
The preseason began with Foster’s 31-point effort in a 62-52 upset win over Baldwin at the Surfriders Holiday Classic. By the time he was scooting past defenders at the Classic, Walter Marciel was well aware of the senior guard.
“When we played against him, we had to stop his penetration, limit him to one shot,” the Kailua coach said. “A lot of times, he gets his own rebound and gets it back in. He’s a great outside shooter. We just wanted to get one hand up on him, Great outside shooter.”
Kailua’s tough, quick guards managed to limit Foster to 16 points in a 46-45 win.
“He’s going to be a wrecking crew for the OIA East. Every team is going to have to battle with him, that’s for sure. When he played against us, he might have been injured a little bit. The way he was moving, he was flying on the court, so I’m not too sure how injured he was,” Marciel said.
Foster was at Punahou as a seventh grader and enjoyed being a Buffanblu. He played on the JV team as a sophomore.
“He really got better between his freshman and sophomore year,” Punahou coach Darren Matsuda recalled. “Since then, he’s really blossomed. He would’ve been a good player for us. Now he’s one of the better athletes in the state.”
Foster’s mother, Dawn, asked him at the end of 10th grade what he thought about attending Roosevelt. That summer, he was working out with the Rough Riders.
“I think Kevin fits our style more,” Roosevelt coach Steve Hathaway said. “Out of all the kids we have, he took it the most serious. He would lift at the (school) weight room and a lot on his own. I told him, ‘You can play college ball, go to a small D-II or D-III school and play. Hw had never even thought seriously about that before.”
The offseason routine hasn’t changed since.
“Coach Steve (Hathaway) is always telling me how I’m going to do well, helping me with my workouts, getting stronger so I get to the basket and finish at the basket,” Foster said.
“If I didn’t lift weights, I’d probably be 160 or 165 (pounds),” said Foster, who weighs 175 to 180 pounds now. “I tried to increase my bench a little just to keep in shape.”
Between offseason play with Roosevelt and weight training, he got his reps on the court at the Nuuanu YMCA.
“Over the summer, I went there a lot.. I’d go kind of early at about 6 p.m. and put up shots and play with them for a couple of games, Then I’d go lift and then play more,” he said.
It’s a good, simple life filled with work ethic. Foster has a 3.0 cumulative
grade-point average and likes chemistry.
“I want to become a pharmacist,” he said.
His future, with or without basketball, might be at UH-Manoa. He applied to the university and will hear back on his acceptance — or not — in January. He’s well aware that UH-Hilo has a pharmaceutical college.
“Anything’s possible. The last time I was there (Hilo) was in sixth grade,” Foster said, referring to a HI-PAL youth basketball tournament. “It was nice. It was green.”
Still, he has a sliver of hope for another kind of green.
“If I could walk on at UH (Manoa), I’d do it,” he said.
When he was 4, Foster’s family moved from Honolulu to Tacoma, Wash. But four years later, his parents split up. Dawn, Kevin, younger sister Mari and younger brother Dean all returned to the islands.
“I was happy to be living here again,” Foster said.
It was a tough challenge for a single mother, but Dawn got lots of help from her dad, Mike Lorrusso, and mom, Gail. Dawn normally had the pickup duties for Kevin. Grandma and Grandpa picked up the two younger ones. Gail often made salmon dinners for the kids.
“I appreciate everything that my mom and grandparents do,” Foster said.
Mari, 14, is a three-sport player who is a freshman at Roosevelt. Dean, 11, loves baseball.
Kevin misses hearing from his dad, Kevin Sr.. They used to talk on the phone once a month, he said. His father would be proud to see what his eldest has done in the classroom and on the basketball court.
Foster’s other family is at Roosevelt, a small, but fast group of hustlers.
“We’re a team of guards. It helps us ’cause we can keep the tempo up and run, but on defense, we have to box out. We can’t jump with teams,” said Foster, who is one of the team’s best rebounders. “I personally want to win as many games as we can. Everybody wants to win the state championship.”
Coming to Roosevelt was a blessing, though Foster still has lots of friendships from his younger days at Punahou.
“It would be different if I was still at Punahou. I would just be a role player. I probably would’ve done the same things, but coach keeps pushing me to do the work,” he said.
The Rough Riders will need their chief. Hathaway has been in Iowa the past week with his mother, who is ill and hospitalized.
“I hope that his family is doing well and I wish the best for them,” Foster said. “Coach Steve, the funniest thing about him is how he can go from playful to super serious and intense.”
The OIA East is extremely talent-heavy this year. Kalaheo is loaded and experienced. McKinley is fast and a year wiser. Farrington, the defending champion, has new faces, too, but is also playing well. Kahuku has talent plus New Zealand transfers who are 6-6. Kaiser has size and shooting. Kailua is physical, big and finding ways to win.
“I think people still look at us as underdogs,” Foster said. “But I think we can make it.”
Hathaway and his staff realize the rest of the OIA may use some gadget defenses on Foster and his teammates.
“He’s unique because you put a guard on him and he can post, and he can blow past any big guy, and guards. He’s a special kid. He works hard and has never given one bit of attitude to any of our coaches. He’s become more vocal now, which I like. I’ve never coached a player who can finish around the rim like him. He can alter his body.”
True enough. Foster and his basketball family have already altered the hopes of Rough Rider basketball.