He would have preferred to be in Springfield, Ohio, but Andre Foreman would have been happy anywhere yesterday, when he was named NCAA Division III Player of the Year by the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
A 6-foot-6 senior forward who finished his Salisbury State career with a Division III record 2,940 points, Foreman made the NABC's All-America team for the second straight year, and this time also led the Player of the Year voting done by an 11-person committee. Hershey Chocolate sponsors the award.
Foreman's career was ended Saturday by Jersey City State in the quarterfinals, one victory shy of the Final Four, which begins tonight at Wittenberg University in Springfield.
"I kind of expected it," Foreman said. "My teammates told me I was going to get it. Those are the guys I have to thank. If we had a below-average team, it would be hard for me to get this type of recognition."
Foreman was a 1987 graduate of Stephen Decatur High in Berlin, located between Salisbury and Ocean City. He led the Sea Gulls to their best season, a 28-2 campaign that ended with a No. 2 ranking in the final Division III poll.
He averaged 25.8 points on 51.1 percent shooting from the field and 11.8 rebounds. He also had career-high totals of 88 assists and 96 steals. His three-point shooting dipped to 28.7 percent for the season, but Foreman displayed a vast array of offensive skills, posting up smaller defenders, driving around bigger ones and outleaping all.
Foreman had double-figure totals in points and rebounds in 24 of his 29 games this season. He also repeated as Player of the Year in the Eastern States Athletic Conference and the Eastern College Athletic Conference South Region.
In 109 career games, the only time Foreman didn't score in double figures was a Feb. 22 game against Frostburg State. Nursing a hyper-extended knee, he scored eight in the first half and didn't play in the second.
Foreman was at full strength for the NCAA tournament, when he averaged 28.7 points and 15.3 rebounds in three games. He silenced critics who had said his numbers were achieved against weaker regular-season competition, and in the process renewed speculation that he will follow other small-college stars into pro basketball.
For his career, Foreman averaged 27.0 points and 12.1 rebounds. He led the nation in scoring as a junior, when he averaged 31.5. He is the state's all-time leading scorer.
In beating out players from the nation's 302 Division III teams and select National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics institutions, Foreman was selected from among eight finalists who constitute the All-America team. Besides Foreman, the All-American first team includes Rochester's Chris Fite and Wisconsin's T. J. Van Wie, who will meet in one of tonight's NCAA semifinals.
Chris Greene of Claremont, Will Lasky of Franklin & Marshall, Jim Pierrakos of Babson and Russell Turner of Hampden-Sydney rounded out the first unit.
"I understand it was a unanimous vote for Andre," Sea Gulls coach Ward Lambert said. "Other players had good numbers, but they're not the all-time leading scorer in Division III."
.. .. .. .. .. .. Scor. .. .. .. .. Reb.
Season .. .. .. ..avg. .. .. .. .. .avg.
1987-88 .. .. .. 24.6 .. .. .. .. ..11.4
1988-89 .. .. .. 25.5 .. .. .. .. ..12.6
1990-91 .. .. .. 31.5 .. .. .. .. ..12.4
1991-92 .. .. .. 25.8 .. .. .. .. ..11.8
Totals.. .. .. ..27.0 .. .. .. .. ..12.1