MILWAUKEE -- The Milwaukee Washington boys basketball team has had their fair share of success this season, as their quest for a state title continues, and one of their stars is reaching for new heights.
Mike Foster is a walking highlight reel. To say the Milwaukee Washington freshman has made a splash in the basketball world is an understatement.
"'Wow. I hope I can get him.' That was my first thing. I hope he is interested in Washington," said Freddie Riley.
Foster averages 19 points a game for the Purgolders in the midst of their successful season, but this freshman is ahead of the curve.
"His last summer game, he was scoring like 50 points and we were like, 'this is too easy for him,' and he's mature enough in the classroom to be quiet and do his work. He did summer school, so it was the right move for him. Evidently it's working out fine," said Chianti Clay.
Not only is Foster playing at the varsity level as a freshman, he is only 14. He's chosen to skip 8th grade and go right to high school.
"It was a good decision to me because I wanted to stay -- I had a group, a crew that I had, my 7th grade year in AAU, so I wanted to stay with them. They brought me in, kept me under their wing," said Foster.
"His maturity level. Just being so young. I mean, he is a little playful. He's not as playful though as the typical 8th-grader. Mike is more mature than a lot of people give him credit for," said Riley.
With Division I offers already rolling in, Foster is one of the top freshman in the country, drawing serious attention.
"He'll work out with Draymond Green for a week this summer. He'll go to Miami with Crowder. Do a week with Harden at Arizona State. He'll get a lot of work and will see where he needs to go," said Clay.
"He has goals. He got his mindset on things he wants to accomplish and he doesn't let anything deter that. He surrounded himself with guys who are doing the right things make sure he doesn't lose his focus. I think that's reason he's experiencing success a lot early," said Riley.
While his transition to high school hoops has been an easy one, he's also scoring in the classroom as an honor roll student.
"School wise, I just stay in the books. Don't let anybody take me off the focus. Just stay with my crew, because if they do good I do good. If I do good they'll do good, so it'll balance out," said Foster.
Foster's decision to go to Washington is also part of his history, and the people he's surrounded by are grateful.
"Mike is a Milwaukee city kid. We have lost a lot of our talented city kids to 220 programs or suburban schools and I don't knock that. If that was the experience they wanted and it worked out for some of those who took that experience, I thought it was great. I like to applaud our kids who stay home, like the Deonte Burtons, the Kevon Looneys, the Collin Dupres, the Michael Fosters. These guys stay they right here in the city of Milwaukee and they stay in the public schools. They want to show that in MPS, you can get it done. It takes a different type of focus, but it can get done. I appreciate Mike and his family for believing in us because it means a lot to young kids growing up and they look at Michael and they can say 'hey, Mike lived right down the street from me.' They see Mike stayed home, and Mike was a honor roll student -- someone they can look up to. Encourage them to try and do their best and believe that is possible and to me, Mike gives them that," said Riley.
While the sky's the limit, Foster keeps his focus on the now, working to improve his game.
"I'd say the post. Growing up playing basketball I was like, I didn't wanna be a one-dimensional player. I wanted to have all cylinders. I'm working on my post now. I can shoot the ball really well. I can handle it all right," said Foster.
He's ready for wherever basketball takes him.
"High school, right now on my mind, all I'm worrying about is winning four rings, or at least three," said Foster.
"Really working his butt off. A lot of people haven't seen it. People just come to the games and they see the game they see the talent and they think he's blessed. They don't really know how hard he works," said Riley.