OSKALOOSA — Oskaloosa High School basketball player Xavier Foster has had a lot of choices to make.
First, he had his eye on 10 colleges to play basketball. Then, there were two. And now, just one.
Foster announced Monday that he has chosen Iowa State to play basketball and begin his collegiate career after high school.
The Cyclones have landed one of the biggest prospects in the 2020 recruiting class in Foster.
“It’s a great feeling to finally announce my decision,” said Foster, “and now I’m looking forward to just playing basketball. We have a lot of young talent on this year’s team and we have a lot to work on.”
The Oskaloosa four-star recruit had drawn nationwide interest, including from some of college basketball’s biggest powerhouses.
He had been the Hawkeyes’ and Cyclones’ top target for the past three years, and he was seen as a top 2020 prospect before he even played his first high school basketball game. The Hawkeyes offered in September of his freshman year, then Iowa State offered in October.
Foster has also held offers from Kansas, Baylor, UCLA, USC, Creighton, Illinois, Missouri, Rutgers, Texas A&M and Providence.
In August, he announced he had narrowed the field to Iowa, Iowa State, Baylor, Virginia Tech and Providence. He made official visits to all except Baylor, who decided to go a different direction with their recruiting.
The last high school star to choose between Iowa and Iowa State was Carroll High School’s Adam Haluska in 2002, who chose the Cyclones, then transferred to Iowa after one season in Ames.
Foster is coming off perhaps his biggest accomplishment in being part of a team that won Oskaloosa’s first Iowa Class 3A state basketball title at Wells Fargo Arena. This season he returns with more of a leadership role to play for Oskaloosa, after the graduation of several key players.
Tom Kakert, who covers recruiting for Rivals and HawkeyeReport.com, said, “He has a lot of raw talent and the rare skill set of a kid who is seven feet tall, can step out and shoot threes with ease and protect the rim on defense. There just aren’t many prospects out there with that set of skills.”
In his junior year, Xavier averaged 14.4 points, 11.8 rebounds and 6.2 blocks per game. He had more blocks by himself than all but four teams in Iowa did all season.
This past summer, Foster attended the Pangos All-American Camp in California, which annually attracts 100-plus of the nation’s top high school players, as well as several of the top recruiting scouts in the nation. He also visited Baylor, attended an NCAA camp with Team Iowa in Missouri, and attended the NBA Top-100 Camp in Virginia.
Every Wednesday since sixth grade he has traveled to Des Moines to workout at Pure Prep, a college basketball preparation program that helps prepare high-level players for the next level. During those long car rides for those workouts, you typically find Foster watching his favorite sports movie, “Coach Carter,” to pass the time.
Despite playing the game and watching basketball movies, Xavier doesn’t like watching basketball. He will watch clips and highlights, he said, but he doesn’t like watching full games.
The Indians suffered a heartbreaking defeat in the state title game in Xavier’s sophomore year, where he averaged 12.7 points and eight rebounds while shooting 58.2 percent from the floor and 39 percent from the arc.
Indians head coach Ryan Parker said he is very excited for Foster. Parker added that he’s not just a great player, but also sets a great example.
“He is that kid that has never turned down an autograph or a picture,” Parker said. “He is usually the first one in the gym and the last one to leave.”
Foster’s father, DeJuan, spoke about how he hopes Xavier can keep it all in perspective.
“Be a kid,” DeJuan said. “You know basketball is kind of a double-edged sword. I want him to work really hard at it but at the same time, if all goes how he’s got it planned, then one day it will be a job. And it doesn’t necessarily need to be a job now. Be as normal as a 16-year-old that you can be for a seven-foot kid in Oskaloosa, Iowa.”