In a social media-driven world, having your own hashtag is a big deal.
But Kenny Foster, #kennythingspossible — the Twitter hashtag circulated by the Smoky Hill community to detail his exploits on the basketball court — strives to keep such things in perspective.
He’s flattered to be sure, but Foster makes sure to give the credit where he thinks its due.
“It’s all thanks to the school; this place it great and it’s a tremendous community,” Foster said. “But at the end of the day, everything is a distraction. I can’t let it get to my head. All that ego boosting is nothing, because this is a team sport. #Kennythingspossible doesn’t happen if the four other guys on the court aren’t playing their tails off at all times.
“Everyone says it’s me, but Smoky Hill basketball is about the team, not one player.”
While the presence of junior Quinten Rock and the rapid development of sophomores Jalen Weaver and Jordan Whitaker have helped the Buffaloes get off to a 14-3 start, it certainly helps to have a player like Foster.
The 6-foot-5 guard and Wyoming signee leads Colorado in scoring with an average of just under 28 points per game and fanned the flames of his online fame with game-winning shots to beat Regis Jesuit and Overland.
Smoky Hill coach Anthony Hardin enjoys the hashtag — an homage to the famous “Anything’s possible!” line screamed by Kevin Garnett after the Boston Celtics won the NBA title in 2008 — and sees it as a recognition of Foster’s dedication to making his team great.
“Kenny wants to win a league title and he wants to win a state championship; whatever that takes on any given night to get us there, that’s what he wants to do,” Hardin said.
“He’s obviously a very accomplished player and right now he doesn’t care when or how he scores or if he scores, all he wants to do is win the game. That competitive nature comes through to the rest of the team.”
Foster arrived at Smoky Hill prior to his freshman year with healthy expectations given the uncommon polish and physical tools he’d displayed as a young player.
He lived up to the high bar over the previous three seasons when he averaged 18.9, 17.7 and 17.0 points per game and helped the Buffaloes reach the Class 5A Great 8 last season.
But Foster is a much different player now in every way.
Freed from the pressures of performing to earn himself a scholarship — which he admitted had him playing “stressed out” and unfocused at times — he’s been able to slow the game down and impact a game in every way.
From jarring baseline reverse dunks to throwing down alley-oops to making shots from virtually anywhere on the court, anything truly does seem possible for Foster.
Rock saw the difference when Foster knocked down a game-winning 3-pointer against Regis Jesuit prior to winter break.
“I didn’t know how he was going to be, but he made that shot against Regis so smooth and calm and I knew,” Rock said. “This year, our attitude is different and he’s a different player.
“I feel like his confidence level is different.”
One of the Buffaloes’ only three losses came at Chaparral — a team that has spent much of the season ranked No. 1 in 5A — when Foster spent the majority of the second half on the bench because of foul trouble.
The other losses came at defending state champion Grandview and at Eaglecrest in two of the most difficult Centennial League venues to play in for the opposition.
Foster is trying to provide the type of leadership that a young team needs to bounce back from such defeats. He didn’t have that when he was a freshman and it showed as the Buffaloes won just four games, but he wants players like Weaver and Whitaker to have it going forward.
“The biggest thing was not having a leader my freshman year and having to come in and be the guy at the age of 14,” Foster said. “I didn’t have guy to pick me up when I was down.
“More than anything, besides, the winning, losing, dunks and all that, I care most about being a leader for these guys.”
With proper leadership, Foster hopes to push Smoky Hill to a Centennial League championship and make a run at winning a 5A crown like the programs the Buffaloes compete with all the time have in recent years such as Grandview, Overland and Eaglecrest.
Foster is looking forward to a career at Wyoming, which he believes has a community feel like Smoky Hill. He had conversations with Colorado State and Colorado about staying in state, but nothing never materialized from either program.
Foster is more than happy to join a Wyoming program that has collected a copious amount of Colorado talent in the past and next season should feature himself along with Kwane Marble of Denver East and former Vista Ridge star Hunter Maldanado.
“My freshman and sophomores year I was pretty strict about not going to the West Coast, so that probably killed a little bit of my recruiting,” Foster said. “But Wyoming is a phenomenal school. I love that place and I’m so excited for it. CU was looking at me and I may have messed that one up a little bit, but that’s in the past.
“My mom will be at a bunch of Wyoming games and so will my brothers and I’m sure a bunch of Smoky Hill people will be there for sure. Wyoming reminds me a lot of Smoky Hill. It’s a great community and I love the people and everything about it.”
Courtney Oakes is Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Sentinel Prep Sports