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Steve Vesey - Foote Earned This Opportunity

From SVE to the NBA. What a Ride!
While "Linsanity" swept across the nation, all I kept thinking was how Jeremy Lin was quite possibly the fourth-best player on the court when Cornell HAMMERED his Harvard team at Newman Arena two years ago.

Jeff Foote, Louis Dale, and Ryan Wittman looked more polished, more fluid - and without a doubt more successful.

Lin has obviously made great strides since that time, and his story really is incredible - but I'd say Jeff Foote's path to the NBA is even more unlikely.

Remember, this was a rail-thin kid out of Spencer-Van Etten who posted solid high school numbers, but nothing that made you think he'd have a D-I (or even D-III) future on the court.  Coaches agreed.

When he grew to seven-feet tall, I understood how he could earn a walk-on spot at St. Bonaventure.

Then, when Foote transferred to Cornell, I got a chance to watch him in practice before he became eligible his sophomore season.  That's when I knew the Big Red was on the verge of something special.

Wittman and Dale were becoming known commodities, but as hard as Foote was working on improving in the post, he might have been the key to their success.

His former coach, Steve Donahue, mentioned on Twitter the other day how incredibly hard Foote worked to get to this point.  He's dead-on.

Once he earned a spot in the D-League this year, after toiling overseas for a season, I figured it would only be a matter of time before he got the call.  I said it in training camp - there is always a market for an agile seven-footer.  He's a great passer out of the post, a sound shot-blocker, and has a soft touch around the basket. 

Now the key becomes working on his weaknesses - that will decide whether Jeff will stick.  He looked a little lost at both ends of the court this weekend, which is understandable when you get thrown right into the fire.  Getting some bulk to that frame has long been the main knock again him, but he looks like he can hold his own right now.

Either way, he is likely the first player from New York's Section IV to make the NBA, and he earned the right to enjoy every minute.
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