Both the Iowa and Iowa State basketball programs offered scholarships to Xavier Foster in the fall of 2016, before he had ever played a single game at the high school level.
They staged a three-year tug-of-war to procure his services that finally came to an end Monday morning when the Oskaloosa 7-footer delivered his final verdict: He will sign with Iowa State.
He and other high school players around the country will be able to make it official when the national letter of intent signing period begins Wednesday.
Foster had narrowed his choices to Iowa and Iowa State a few weeks ago in a recruiting battle that also involved Virginia Tech, Providence and Baylor and other schools.
Foster said he didn’t make his final decision until Sunday night. He said he chose the Cyclones because of their style of play and because of the relationships he developed with players there. He said he had become especially close to sophomore point guard Tyrese Halliburton.
"I just felt at home there,'' he said.
He also noted that although he has always been an Iowa fan and most of his family members are Hawkeye backers — his grandfather, Mark Fetter, played football at Iowa — he felt he had “a better chance for success’’ in the ISU program.
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“Coming in, I feel like I’ll probably be a role player,’’ Foster said in an interview with the Indians Network. “That’s just perfectly fine for me, knowing that you have to work getting to be the guy on the team. I’m perfectly fine with being a role player, coming in and getting good minutes and contributing to the team.”
Foster, who is ranked as the 56th best prospect in the country by Rivals.com and No. 76 by 247Sports.com, averaged 14.4 points, 8.4 rebounds and 6.2 blocked shots per game last season in helping Oskaloosa win the Class 3A state title. He shot 53.6 percent from the field and 51.2 percent from the foul line.
As a sophomore, he averaged 12.7 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.6 blocks per game. As a freshman, he had 7.5 points, 5.8 rebounds and 3.6 blocks.
He will be only the second Iowa high school player in the past decade to sign a letter of intent with the Cyclones out of high school. The only other one was Clinton’s Brady Ernst, who left Ames after just one season.
Over the same span, Iowa has loaded up on instate talent. Of the 12 players currently on scholarship with the Hawkeyes, seven are homegrown.
Foster is the fourth recruit in the 2020 class for the Cyclones, joining Jaden Walker of Lawrenceville, Georgia; Darlinstone Dubar of Scotland, Pennsylvania; and Dudley Blackwell of Huntington, West Virginia.
Iowa also has four verbal commitments, from Ahron Ulis of Chicago Heights, Illinois; Tony Perkins of Indianapolis; and twins Kris and Keegan Murray, who played at Cedar Rapids Prairie and currently are attending prep school in Daytona Beach, Florida.