Salisbury's Foreman has sights on scoring mark despite slump

February 08, 1992|By Paul McMullen | Paul McMullen,Staff Correspondent

SALISBURY -- Why isn't this man smiling?

Sometime tomorrow at Frostburg State -- or maybe even tonight at Shenandoah -- Andre Foreman will become the all-time leading college basketball scorer in the state of Maryland. Later this month, the 6-foot-6 senior forward for Salisbury State expects to become the top career scorer ever in NCAA Division III.

March most likely will include a return trip to the NCAA tournament, and the team that Foreman leads is ranked No. 3 in the land. The Sea Gulls are in position to be host to the Atlantic Regional, and Foreman and company then would have a prime opportunity to gain additional notice.

He has met the requirements for a degree in liberal studies, and this semester his 13-credit load includes international marketing. case I go overseas," said Foreman, mentioning an interest in Australia.

To look at Foreman on a Wednesday afternoon, however, one would think his world is falling apart. The day before, he visited an on-campus counselor to help him relax on the floor. In Foreman's past four games, he has made only 40 percent of his field-goal attempts, and for the season he's down to 49.0 percent, nowhere near his standards.

"I'm missing too many easy shots," Foreman said. "That's become a bad habit.

"I'm thinking about it too much. I've never been this frustrated about my game. Coach [Ward Lambert] has told me, 'People would die to get 20 points and 13 rebounds a game,' but that's not enough for me. Maybe I'm expecting too much."

In compiling 2,641 points and 1,175 rebounds, Foreman has had some extremely gaudy averages. Last season, when he was a first-team All-American, his 31.5 scoring average led the nation and he was sixth in rebounds with 12.4.

This season, he's averaging 24.9 points and 11.3 rebounds. The Sea Gulls got an infusion of transfer talent, and they don't need him to be a one-man show. Sophomore guard Dameon Ross was Division I scholarship player at Old Dominion, and junior point guard Bret Grebowsky spent two seasons at Division II Clarion State.

"Andre's getting all this publicity and he thinks he has to have a good game every time out, but he doesn't have to score as much as he has in the past," Lambert said. "Everyone keeps harping on his scoring being down, but there are a lot of facets to his game. Even if he shoots badly, you can see him do some impressive things on the court."

Salisbury State has won 16 straight since a loss at Hampden-Sydney, and there have been some second halves when Foreman seems to get every big rebound. The Sea Gulls are averaging 98.8 points a game in their up-tempo style, and in addition to scoring and rebounding, Foreman leads the state's Division III players in steals, with 4.0 a game.

He's also averaging 3.2 assists and 1.7 blocks. Foreman usually is quicker than the rare Division III foe his size, and he's a big-time leaper. All the more reason for recent frustration for someone who says, "The only place I'm a perfectionist is on the basketball court."

Five years ago, when he made the short trip east on Route 50 from his home in Berlin to Salisbury, Foreman didn't have such great expectations. Neither did Lambert.

"I saw him a lot his last two years in high school, and I thought he'd be our seventh or eighth man," Lambert said. "That shows you how brilliant I am. This area isn't highly recruited to begin with, and a lot of people missed out on Andre."

Stephen Decatur High never left the Eastern Shore while Foreman was there. He was 5-11 as a sophomore, and never attended one of the premier summer camps before his senior year. UMES was the only Division I school to offer him a scholarship, but Foreman had several ties to Lambert, and opted for being a big fish in an even smaller pond.

His career was derailed in the summer of 1989, when Army Reserve duties caused him to miss the exam in a physics class and fall one credit short of being eligible to play the following semester. He sat out all of the 1989-90 season, and even though he's still only 22, the fifth-year senior has that extra year of maturity.

"He struggled academically, but turned out pretty good in that regard too," Lambert said. "Andre had a 3.0 grade-point average last spring."

The talent brokers who didn't notice him in high school eventually came around. Against NCAA rules, several Division I coaches wanted him to transfer to their schools as an underclassman. NBA scouts have twice seen him play this season. Foreman didn't know they were in attendance, and he remains mystified by his 9-for-27 shooting in those two games.

"At times my freshman and sophomore years, I had to carry the team," Foreman said. "I knew coming into this season I wouldn't have to average 30 points, so there's no reason to be putting any pressure on myself."

So when is he going to let himself smile?

Andre Foreman's career statistics

A7Season ...... G..... Pts..... Avg.... FGPct..... Reb.

1987-88...... 25.... 616...... 24.6..... .578.... 285

1988-89..... 26.... 663....... 25.5...... .534..... 327

1990-91....... 29.... 914..... 31.5....... .534.... 360

1991-92....... 18..... 448..... 24.9..... .490.... 203

........Totals 98.... 2,641.... 26.9...... .536.... 1,175

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