ST. JOHN’S — Daniel Foo is willing to do what it takes to improve his stock on the hardwood so he’s all about following the advice of his coach.
Foo, an 18-year-old Corner Brook native, is in his rookie season as a point guard with the Memorial Sea-Hawks men’s basketball team under the tutelage of head coach Peter Benoite.
Benoite has had Foo under his wing for a couple of weeks as the Sea-Hawks prepare for another season so he has a good idea of the skillset the young man brings to the hardwood.
But he hopes the recruit will be able to avoid being plagued by injury, which was the case for the talented point guard who battled ankle injuries throughout his domination of the provincial high school basketball scene as a member of the Corner Brook Titans.
“I don’t know if his conditioning was where it needed to be. Once he got that in place I think he’s going to be a solid CIS guard,” coach Benoite said of Foo.
Foo is fully aware of his coach’s concerns about a clean bill of health and believes he’s worked hard to prepare himself for a much tougher grind at the college basketball level.
“I’m feeling pretty healthy now I am just trying to get my body right,” Foo said from St. John’s Monday. “ Working on stability exercises for my ankles because I’ve had an ankle fracture and a number of sprained ankles, and a foot injury which I am still not sure what it was. Just working in the gym trying to get my body right and it’s been paying off.”
Being healthy will help him challenge for playing time, but coach Benoite believes Foo’s competitive nature is something that should work in his favour as he embraces the program.
“He’s bringing a lot of competitiveness,” Benoite said.
“He likes to compete when he’s on the floor and when you’re keeping score he’s one of the guys going after it so he helps raise our compete level in practice and definitely in games.”
The key, coach Benoit said, is to bring the same intensity level on a consistent basis not only in games, but every time he puts the hand on the ball in practice or training sessions throughout the season.
Coach Benoite understands the importance of players being fit and ready for a hectic schedule because this year’s team has only been together for a short period of time and already there are a number of players dealing with injuries.
“That’s a little typical this time of the year, but we have a few more injuries than we’re used to so we’re trying to get through that,” he said.
The Sea-Hawks have been hitting the hardwood three times a week to prepare for a series of exhibition games in October that will see them play a number of out-of-conference games in both Montreal and Toronto before the regular season begins in earnest.
So far, according to Foo, the team is looking good and he’s excited about the possibilities for this year.
“There’s good chemistry and everybody has a good attitude,” he said.
Foo will undoubtedly strive to be his best and find his groove with the team on the hardwood. It’s a matter of waiting to see how others challenging for a guard position perform in training, but coach Benoite has confidence in the rookie at this point in his development.
“We certainly see him in the mix and competing for playing time for sure,” Benoite said.