Foster Loyer nears end of a tremendous high school career that rates him with the all-time Clarkston greatsBasketball  |
Clarkston - The buzz began to build before he even stepped foot on the floor for his first high school basketball game. “Foster the Phenom,” was one phrase many used to describe him.
Word on the street in Clarkston was that Loyer kid, the son of an NBA coach, could really heat up the hardwood. It didn’t take long for that word to prove true – in spades. The whispers quickly turned into a full-blown roar.
His 35 points in a 2015 Class A region final against Macomb Dakota (a 69-63 overtime victory) as a freshman put the rest of the state on notice. Michigan had a burgeoning superstar in its midst for the foreseeable future.
Foster Loyer is heading down the stretch in his high school career and my, what a career it’s been. No matter how it ends for him in the coming weeks, Clarkston’s 6-foot senior point guard has already penciled his name into the pantheon of Michigan High School Athletic Association greats out of the backcourt.
Likely the frontrunner for this year's Hal Schram Mr. Basketball award, Loyer is a first-team all-state floor general three years running and is headed to Michigan State next season. He is averaging 28 points, six assists, five rebounds and four steals per game. As a junior last season, he led cage-crazy Clarkston to its first state title. This season the Wolves are 14-1 and in good shape to wrap up the program’s 12th consecutive league championship in the Oakland Activities Association Red Division by months end.
“We know we always have a target on our backs, this year more than ever and that motivates us,” he said. “If we take care of what we can control, put the distractions aside, we’re going to be alright.”
Landing in Clarkston from Philadelphia with his family in the summer of 2013 as a sixth grader, when his father John joined the Detroit Pistons as an assistant (he’d soon become interim head coach), the younger Loyer has been around the game his whole life.
John Loyer is currently an NBA scout for the Los Angeles Clippers, having made assistant coaching stops with the Portland Trailblazers, Philadelphia 76ers, and New Jersey Nets.
“Being around my dad, his teams and his players, since I was little, gave me an appreciation and love for the game of basketball,” Foster Loyer said. “That’s where I discovered it. That kind of exposure, seeing those guys, how they prepared, learning from them, was an invaluable experience.”
The elder Loyer recognized how drawn his son was into his work.
“Around the time we got to Detroit, when Foster was in sixth, seventh grade, he made the decision to really dedicate himself to the game,” he said. “I think his will to win is his best trait. That kind of desire separates him from the pack and makes you feel good as a parent,”
Foster’s efficiency also sets him apart.
Last week in a 75-29 defeat of Southfield for the Arts and Technology, Loyer scored 31 points as he made all of his field goal (9) and free throw attempts (7).
“When you’re a six foot point guard, you’ve got to be able to pick your spots,” his dad said. “Foster has shown to be very capable at doing that.”
Foster recently joined the 2,000-point club, becoming only the 41st player in state history to accomplish the feat. If he adds 238 more he’ll break the schools’s all-time record held by Dane Fife, son of legendary Clarkston coach Dan Fife and an assistant coach at Michigan State.
Dane Fife won Mr. Basketball in 1998 before going on to Indiana University. He’s the only Clarkston player to win the award. Dane will take over coaching Loyer this summer.
“Foster represents what Clarkston basketball is all about,” Dane said. “He’s a tremendous worker, leader and teammate. He’s the true definition of a champion.”
Debates will continue for years over who is Clarkston’s best basketball player, Dane, his father, his brother, Duggan, Tim McCormick or Loyer.
“I don’t think about that kind of stuff, just to be talked about in the same conversation with the Fife family is an incredible honor,” Loyer said. “This school and community are amazing. My only goal every practice, every game is to get better every time out. If I do that, I’m meeting my expectations.”
Dan Fife, who was an all-state guard at Clarkston in the 1960s and then a captain at Michigan, has won more games on the sidelines than all but two other coaches in state history. He knows how special his point guard is.
“I don’t know where he ranks in Clarkston history, but I know he’s pretty darn good,” he said. “His court vision is second to none. Foster outthinks people out there. He plays at an extremely high level with a type of consistency that’s very rare.”