Wizards pre-draft workouts: Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster, Loyola’s Erik Etherly get a look

Ever since the eighth grade, Kevin Foster has gone up against NBA talent, developing his skills against the likes of J.R. Smith and Mike James during workouts with former Maryland star and NBA coach John Lucas. Thanks to Lucas’s tough-love tutelage, Foster now possesses a fearless attitude that helped him become Santa Clara’s all-time leading scorer with 2,423 points.

The 6-foot-2 guard had a chance to show his readiness for the pro level Wednesday when he joined five others for a Wizards pre-draft workout at Verizon Center. With none of the participants expected to be chosen before the second round of the NBA draft on June 27, the session served as an opportunity for Washington to evaluate prospects for their Nos. 38 and 54 picks as well as free agent and summer league spots.

Following workouts with Golden State, Houston and Milwaukee, Wednesday’s 90-minute session served as Foster’s fourth in front of an NBA team. Alongside Foster were guard Tahj Tate (Delaware State), forwards Erik Etherly (Loyola) and Oleksandr Lypovyy (Serbia), and centers Vander Joaquim (Hawaii) and Dejan Musli (Ukraine).

“There was a lot of shooting and that’s one of things I do really well, so I was glad about that,” Foster said afterward. “Shooting will be my ticket into the NBA. … I feel like I can bring some ball handling and passing to the table as well because I know the game really well and I understand how to make plays for myself and others.”

As a senior, Foster averaged 19.3 points and 4.3 assists to lead the Broncos to the College Basketball Invitational title, defeating George Mason in a three-game championship series. The Texas native turned heads by dropping a season-high 30 points in a win against Saint Louis and 29 points each in losses at Duke and Gonzaga.

A shooter in a point guard’s body, Foster could potentially make a case as John Wall’s backup after that spot proved to be revolving door last season because of injuries and inconsistent play.

“I’ve been used to [top] competition for a while now, so when I get to the next level, I’ll be ready to compete,” Foster said. “There are a lot of stories about somebody that’s gone undrafted and still made it to the NBA, so I never take anything out of the equation.”

Etherly approached his first NBA workout with a similar mentality, hoping that his versatility would intrigue the team that he grew up watching. After starring at Annandale High, the 6-foot-7 swingman averaged 15.7 points and 6.5 rebounds last season at Loyola.

“I’m just hoping that what I do here brings more exposure to me and my abilities and garners more workouts,” Etherly said. Coming from a smaller school, “you have to really come out and prove yourself and take opportunity like I got today with the hometown team.”

Brandon Parker is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.
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Michael Lee · June 19, 2013

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