November 2, 2007

Seven-Footer Foote Ready to Contribute

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Not too often do teams get a true 7-0 center knocking on its door hoping to transfer. Fortunately for the Red, it received the luck of the draw as junior Jeff Foote looked to Cornell after deciding to leave St. Bonaventure.
“I really didn’t like St. Bonaventure,” Foote said. “I came here because I felt welcome and it seemed like a way to establish my career.”
The Red coaches were familiar with the big man’s talents seeing as he is from nearby Lockwood, N.Y., but Foote ended up at St. Bonaventure instead. Foote red-shirted his freshman year prior to deciding he wanted to leave the school as his sophomore season approached.
The connection between Foote and Cornell soon started with one of the most unfortunate times for the Red. Coincidentally, Foote’s mother was the head nurse for senior guard Khaliq Gant at Arnot Odgen Medical Center in Elimra, N.Y., after Gant suffered a neck injury two years ago. His mother grew familiar with assistant head coach Zachary Spiker. Soon after Foote landed at East Hill.
“Once I realized that I wanted to transfer,” Foote said. “[Assistant] Coach Spiker was the first person I called.”
While Foote may be excited to suit up for the Red, there are many more people who are curious as to how the seven-footer will perform.
“It’s definitely a little bit of pressure,” Foote said. “But I don’t really notice it. I get more pressure from my family.”
Foote, who admits to struggling with body maturity at times, feels confident that he will be able to perform well at the college level, even though he has yet to hit the floor in his career.
“I feel like I’m growing a lot,” Foote said. “I’m starting to mature and now my body feels like it is catching up with my height.”
Foote joined the team last December, right after his finals were finished at St. Bonaventure. As the Red prepares for its Nov. 10 opener against Lehigh, by NCAA regulations, Foote won’t be able to suit up until the end of the first semester. That means his first contest will be away against Bucknell on Dec. 19th.
That game will be followed by a trip to the Carrier Dome to face Syracuse. For Foote, the chance to prove that he is more than just a seven-footer will have to wait for awhile.
“I’ve been practicing all college,” Foote said. “I’m just ready to play.”
If his performance in practice is any indication, Foote will contribute early and often for the Red.
“It’s very hard to shoot over him, I’ve learned in practice,” said senior Jason Hartford, laughing. “And it’s hard to stop him. When he gets the ball he just turns around and he’s right by the rim.”