Where are they now: Shan Foster

The other option for a headline picture was Alex Gordon training with this team. You have no idea how tempted I was.

With Mississippi State coming to town, we've referenced Shan Foster multiple times based on what is probably most Vandy fans' fondest memory of him - his 42 point performance against the Bulldogs at Memorial Gym. Barcablog took our obsession a little bit further by catching up with Shan to get his thoughts on the game. And while Barca caught us up on how Shan reflects back on Senior Night, we'd thought we'd take a better look at the winding path he's taken to end up in Kepez, Çanakkale, a seaside town of 8,000 in northwest Turkey.

After being drafted 51st overall by the Dallas Mavericks, Foster failed to impress in the summer league and shot just 3-10 from three point range. His draft rights remained with the Mavs, but he headed to Italy to craft his game. Foster signed with 2008 Liga2 champions Pepsi JuveCaserta who, with their championship, were promoted to the Italy's top league - Serie A. Foster's addition was supposed to help them compete in the stronger division and drive them into the EuroLeague playoffs.

While a solid starter, he wasn't the breakout star many thought he would be in Italy. Shan played in all 30 of the team's games, shooting 36% from beyond the arc and scoring over 10 points per game. JuveCaserta went 11-19, despite the contributions of Foster and teammates Ron Slay and Guillermo Diaz. The squad missed the league's playoffs, but remained in the top tier of Italian basketball.

Foster came back to the U.S. in 2009 for another round with the Mavericks summer league squad. After an up-and-down performance, the lithe guard showed improvement, but not enough to earn a permanent roster spot. He played well in short minutes, but failed to showcase a polished all-around presence on the court. 

Free from all contracts, Shan headed to Turkey to play in the same league as former teammates Ross Neltner and Alex Gordon. Currently, he's logging big minutes for Kepez Bld Antalya - the team that Alex Gordon left over a contract dispute, presumably yelling and shooting ill-advised three pointers as he walked out. He's been relatively quiet for 4-13 Kepez, but he's also getting lots of experience against former NBA players like Gordan Giricek, Roko-Leni Ukic, Bostjan Nachbar, and Andre Owens. Recently, Foster dropped 23 points on 10 shots in a 97-96 win that suggests he may command the ball more on offense in the future. While unspectacular, "Sugar" Shan is proving to be a stabilizing force on a relatively weak Turkish League team. 

Shan Foster 2009-2010 Statistics:

TEAM

G

MIN

PTS

2FGP

3FGP

FT

RO

RD

RT

AS

PF

BS

ST

Kepez Bld Antalya

14

26.4

9.1

50.0%

38.9%

66.7%

0.6

2.3

2.9

1.6

1.0

0.0

0.8

However, Shan's lack of production is a little bit disappointing. College players with a shooting touch like his have generally thrived in Europe, yet Foster is averaging half the scoring that Alex Gordon put up last year in the same league. While he's shooting well, he's only putting up 7.5 shots per game and hardly getting to the free throw line. Looking back to the last Memorial Gym Mississippi State game, you would think Shan would be dominating in Turkey, but it seems as if he's hardly being used at all despite big minutes on the court. 

Since the Mavericks still hold Foster's rights, it's likely that we'll see him again with Dallas's summer squad. While long range shooting is still his calling card, he still needs to work on rounding out his game and work on getting the most out of his 6'6" frame. Maybe he's passing up offense to concentrate on defense and other facets of his game - since those would be the keys to a NBA contract. Or maybe he's in a system at Kepez that doesn't understand how to utilize his talents. Or maybe he's just dragging because he's having trouble adjusting to the European style of play. Either way, Shan's game is changing from the time he left Vanderbilt - and without many chances to see him ball here in the U.S., it's tough to tell whether that's a good thing or not.

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