clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Freshmen Are Fun. But Reliable? That Depends.

We sure hope so though.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

NCAA Basketball: Dartmouth at Duke
Nov 6, 2023; Durham, North Carolina, USA;Duke Blue Devils guard Caleb Foster (1) drives to the basket during the second half against the Dartmouth Big Green at Cameron Indoor Stadium.
Rob Kinnan-USA TODAY Sports

Everyone, it seems, has caught on to Duke freshman Caleb Foster, who had a sensational game against Michigan State Tuesday night and, truthfully, it was a lot of fun. Foster played 29 minutes, shot 7-8 and 4-5 for threes for 18 points, had three rebounds and an assist.

He was a vital spark plug for at team that had a horrible first half and he deserves the lavish praise that coach Jon Scheyer gave him in the post-game presser.

But let’s keep it in perspective.

He scored 15 against Dartmouth, which doesn’t mean a lot because, no offense Big Green fans, it was Dartmouth, but and then played 13 minutes against Arizona and the only thing in his stat line that wasn’t zero was one personal foul.

Don’t misunderstand - we loved what he did against the Spartans and we got a really good idea of his potential.

But as great as that was, Foster is still a freshman, and most freshman, by definition, have a lot of work to do.

People are giving him the start treatment after one exceptional game. Not to put him down, but other Blue Devils have had good stretches in their freshman seasons. Consider Greg Newton, who had his moments, Rasheed Sulaimon, Andre Dawkins, Olek Czyz, Bill Jackman and Chris Burgess, all of whom had great moments as freshmen but all of whom failed to develop into consistently excellent players (in Andre Dawkins’ case, he suffered an immense personal loss and was never quite the same after his sister died).

We’re not saying he’s not going to be good. We saw the same thing the rest of you saw.

We’re saying he’s a freshman, and freshmen, almost always, are to some extent erratic.

It won’t surprise us if he scores 25 on Friday against Bucknell; it also won’t surprise us if he shoots 2-7 and fouls out.

All we’re saying is give him room to grow into what he’s going to be and don’t expect him to be a dominant force every night. The attention has been rapturous as you’ll see in the links below and for a young freshman, that, too, could be a problem.

By the way, his mom is on Twitter and she’s a fun follow. She’s got 498 followers right now. Duke fans could push that up!

And one last thought which only just now bubbled up: Caleb is not the first important Foster at Duke, but Bill Foster seems like a very long time ago. Has anyone else thought of that connection? It just kind of underscores how long ago Mike Krzyzewski was Duke’s coach.