Je Kel Foster is a 31 year old 193cm guard that is playing his ninth professional season and sixth in Germany and first with medi Bayreuth. He played at Ohio State from 2004-2006. He started his professional basketball career 2006 in Germany for EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga): 42 games: 13.2ppg, 3.1rpg, 2.5apg, 1.6spg, 2FGP: 45.3%, 3FGP: 34.0%, FT: 75.3%. In the 2007-2008 season he played for Paris-Levallois (France-ProA) 30 games: 14.5ppg, 3.4rpg, 2.9apg, Steals-2(2.4spg), 2FGP: 47.9%, 3PT: 39.6%, FT: 65.6%. He then returned back to Germany and played for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg from 2008-2010 helping the club win the 2009 Beko BBL title. In the 2010-2011 season he played for Vanoli-Braga Cremona (Italy-SerieA) 29 games: 12.2ppg, 3.3rpg, 2.1apg, 2.1spg, FGP: 53.6%, 3PT: 37.5%, FT: 71.8%. In the 2011-2012 season he returned back to Germany and played for : FC Bayern Muenchen (Germany-1.Bundesliga, starting five): EuroCup: 3 games: 7.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg, 1.3spg; German League: 32 games: 13.9ppg, 3.9rpg, 2.3apg, 1.2spg, FGP: 49.5%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 71.4%. In the 2012-2013 season he played for Belgacom Spirou (Belgian Ethias League) 8 games: 11.3ppg, 3.0rpg, 1.8apg; Eurocup: 6 games: 7.3ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.3apg, 1.0spg, in Dec.’12 moved to ALBA Berlin (Germany-BBL) 24 games: 7.4ppg, 2.8rpg, 2.0apg, FGP: 34.7%, 3PT: 31.4%, FT: 72.1%; Euroleague: 14 games: 7.4ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.4apg, 1.0spg, FGP: 35.8%, 3PT: 41.9%, FT: 84.6%. Last season he played for JSF Nanterre (France-ProA) Euroleague: 10 games: 4.9ppg, 1.7rpg, 1.6apg; French ProA: 12 games: 6.8ppg, 1.2rpg, 2.2apg, 1.3spg, 2FGP: 54.2%, 3FGP: 36.6%, FT: 61.1%, in Feb.’14 moved to Sidigas Avellino (Italy-SerieA) 12 games: 5.3ppg, 2.2rpg, 1.2spg. He spoke to German Hoops about basketball.
Welcome back to Frankfurt. You played many times against Frankfurt with Ludwigsburg, Oldenburg, FC Bayern Munich and Alba Berlin. When you look back at those games is there one game against that you will never forget besides the loss to Frankfurt with medi bayreuth?
I have played many times against Frankfurt, but most with Oldenburg. I remember our title run 2009 where we met Frankfurt in the playoffs. It was a hard fought series, but I remember that season most against Frankfurt.
I have one game in my memory where you helped FC Bayern Munich beat Frankfurt 58-57 in Munich where you hit huge three pointers in crunch time. What memories do you have of this game where you hit two three pointers and it isn´t every day that a Jimmy Mckinney doesn´t hit a three pointer.
I also remember that game. That was a good game that came down to the last minute. Frankfurt has been a good defensive team the last years as they also kept that game low. We grinded that game out. I have played against Jimmy Mckinney so many times that it is a battle each time we play.
Over the years you played quite a few times against Fraport Skyliner Quantez Robertson. Where does he rack up in the best defensive players that you have encountered in the BBL?
Robertson is a very good player and he defines his game on the defensive end. Whenever I have played against him it has always been a war. I win some and he won some.
Medi Bayreuth is your fifth team in Germany and you have won two titles here. Why do you keep coming back to Germany? What do you appreciate most about the country Germany and its basketball?
Germany has been good to me and my family over the years. What I really appreciate most about the country is that it is similar to the States. Germany was always good for my career because I had a lot of success here. If not broke don´t fix it.
Ever since turning professional in 2006 you have always had a team at the start of the season until this season. Was it a difficult time for you the last months not being able to play? How were you able to stay focused?
I stayed focused just spending much time with my family. It was good spending extra time with them during the season.
You have joined medi Bayreuth and are playing for head coach Michael Koch. Koch was often second with Bonn never winning a BBL title there as you and Oldenburg also denied him. Since being in Bayreuth did Koch ever mention that 2009 final series that Bonn seemed to have won?
Yes coach and Bowman have mentioned it quite a few times, but I don´t really like to talk about it. I am not the kind of guy that likes to throw it in their faces about what once happened. We in Bayreuth are on a different mission now and need to move forward now.
Your current teammate Brandon Bowman also had to leave the floor in Oldenburg in 2009 as a loser. If he couldn´t beat you then at least he could challenge you to a duel in the weight room. Has he challenged you or found some other way for revenge?
Bowman is a good guy and always working hard. He is in the gym seven days a week and work ethic is crazy. I respect him so much. If we have a team practice from 6 to 8.30, then he still goes into the weight room to do extra work.
Bayreuth is 2-3 since your arrival. The BBL standings are tight as many teams are fighting for the playoffs. Do you believe that Bayreuth is capable of making a run?
I think that we can make a run. We have to work out a few kinks and just take it one game at a time. There are so many teams that have that goal. We will just work hard and try to reach that goal.
You have needed no time to adjust since arriving as you are averaging 14,3ppg, 2,5rpg and 2,3apg in your first four games. There are many veterans on the team with Brandon Bowman, Bryan Bailey and Ronald Burrell. How much of a leadership role do you have and what role do you have on the team?
With Bowman, Burrell and myself we have three veteran guys and then a lot of young players. My role is to be more vocal and be a leader. I try to help the young guys and if I see them making mistakes just try to help them correct them. I help them with mistakes and not jump in their faces about it.
Medi Bayreuth have two very talented youngsters with Javon Mccrea and David Bremblay. Where do you see their potential going in the next years?
The sky is the limit for them. They are very good players. Mccrea is a beast under the basket and one of the most effective players I have played with. He is raw and is still learning, but already now as a rookie he is a handful for opponents. Brembly is an all around good player that can do it all.
Jason Brickman like Mccrea played in a lower conference but had great stats. What have you appreciated most about his game as a rookie?
When you are open on the court, you know that Brickman will get you the ball. He is an incredible player that makes incredible plays. His game is identical to Jared Jordan. He is a solid point guard.
Last season you had a mixed season playing in France for Nanterre playing Euroleague and in Italy for Sidigas Avellino. How difficult was the season not playing a major role for either team?
Playing Euroleague with Nanterre was a great experience. I had a different kind of role there with my leadership. At AvellinoI also had a different role. I didn´t gel as much with the team and the fit with the coach and me wasn´t right.
Two seasons ago you won the cup with Alba Berlin after coming in late into the season. Alba Berlin won the cup again last season, but lost to FC Bayern Munich in the league final. Do you think they have the personal to win it all this season?
Alba Berlin has been dominating as their record shows, but there are so many teams that could win the title this season with Munich and Bamberg also. It doesn´t really matter where you stand in the league, you can win it. We won in 2009, but in 2010 we finished first, but lost first round to #8 seed Braunschweig so anything is possible in the BBL.
In the 2011-2012 season you played for FC Bayern Munich. What experience will you forever remember something that you would never have seen with another club in the BBL?
I have good memories of my time there. I got injured at the end. FC Bayern Munich is a first class organization and I will always be grateful for having the chance to play there.
In the 2010-2011 season you played for Italian club Vanoli with Earl Rowland. How often did you have to hear about the last seconds of the 2009 BBL game five? What memories do you have of Rowland as a teammate?
I had to hear it all the time in that season since that memory was still fresh then. He is a good guy and player. He is playing in Turkey this season.
You played two seasons for the EWE Baskets Oldenburg. Where do you rack up Rickey Paulding in your list of alltime best teammates?
Paulding is my guy. I would rank him in my top five best teammates list. That team was so together and we just gelled so well together.
As a rookie you played for EnBW Ludwigsburg (Germany-1.Bundesliga) as they were the big surprise team of the season finishing in second place. You had a very strong rookie campaign, but what could you soak up from Jerry Green on the court who had a few more years of experience?
Jerry Green took me under his wing. He showed me the ropes of how European basketball works. In can be a culture shock coming from the States to Europe, but he taught me how to survive. I remember we always had pregame meals together before home games.
I used to kid him about his similarity in looks to singer Lionel Richie. Did you see a resemblance?
I have a lot of respect for Jerry Green, but to be honest I never paid any attention to his looks.
After two years at junior college, you moved to Ohio State. As a senior you won the Big Ten Regular Season Championship and were a Big Ten Tournament Finalist. Do you think that the team with a Mike Conley and Daequan Cook could came to Ohio State a year later would have gotten you an NCAA title?
Those guys made their own legacy at Ohio State reaching the NCAA final. They put together a very good team that year. Even if we didn´t reach an NCAA final, I enjoyed my teammates. We had a close bond and I wouldn´t change it for anything.
Was it very difficult to get ex head coach Predrag Krunic to smile on a day to day basis?
Krunic is always smiling. He was one of my best coaches. Many think that he is mean, but he is always joking. During a game he is all business as there is no time for fun and games. He was able to get us on another level, because he always had us focused on the court.
What was the last DVD movie that you saw?
The Wedding Ring with Kevin Hart.
Thanks Je Kel for the chat.