DEFIANCE, Ariz. - It may take hard work for an American Indian
to play basketball in college and it certainly takes drive to
make it to the NBA, but its not out of reach for Warlance
plays point or shooting guard and has proven himself, all by himself,
without drafts, scholarships or any of the common ways that most
athletes utilize in college and beyond. He is Navajo and Lakota,
and has to overcome the stereotype that befalls all American Indian
athletes when it comes to being discovered.
takes one player to show he can do it and then the floodgates will
open to places like Pine Ridge and Kyle. Coaches will see the good
talent. So many players have failed, coaches no longer look to the
reservations for talent," Foster said.
is headed for Europe to play professional basketball. He said he
will try out for multiple teams and has no preference as to which
country he plays for.
does he feel about Europe? "Im all for it. Its
an excellent opportunity to see the world and an opportunity to
show what Indian basketball players can do."
though European teams pay pretty well, enough "to earn a successful
living," he is more interested in just playing the game and
showing his talent, he said.
NBA scouts European players and the possibility of Foster being
seen by an NBA representative is very good and the chance of returning
to his homeland is also very good, he said.
is most discouraging for college and pro teams is the stereotype
of the American Indian that gets in the way. "Many people get
homesick," Foster added. That stops coaches from recruiting
American Indian students, he said. Foster has attended a lot of
tournaments and games and has seen great talent among American Indian
has overcome adversity his entire career. He said he was told by
friends and others that he couldnt make it.
family has urged him to pursue the European leagues and "they
are 110 percent behind me," Foster said.
it takes to make it to the pros is heart, determination and a hunger
deep down inside, he said.
a walk-on at Arizona Junior College, one of the top junior college
teams in the country, he played in two national championships.
Western State College, a Division II school, he was ranked in the
top 10 in assists, steals and three-point shooting percentage in
the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2000.
a walk-on he went on to become captain of Western State College
basketball team. He averaged seven points per game, four steals,
six assists and shot 45 percent from three-point range.
coach Bob Hoffman said Foster was a quick and aggressive top defensive
player and is said to have the quickest hands in the conference.
He is also a smart, motivated and hard working player, other coaches
1992, the Rocky Mountain News and Denver Post, stated that Foster
was one of the top 10 players in Colorado to watch while he attended
Centauras High School.
a member of the 1993 Navajo Nation All Star Team at the National
Junior AAU Championship in Jacksonville, Fla., he scored 40 points
in one game and was named a High School All-American and a recipient
of the Sportsmanship Award for the tournament.
past October, Foster tried out for the Denver Nuggets and was told
he may have a position in the future. He was invited to attend the
summer development league in 2004 by Nuggets General Manager
Kiki Vandeweghe. The Nuggets are the only pro team Foster contacted
time may be running out for Foster. He is 28-years-old and professional
players playing lives end at an early age. "I have to do something
pretty quick. I have to get on a team as soon as possible. I have
only a few years left to play."
the European agent Maurizio Balduccio, Protalent Sports Management,
who represents five countries, has made contact with him, Foster
does not currently have an agent in Europe.
does not forget where he came from. He is a Sun Dancer and participates
in pow wows as a Northern Traditional Dancer. He also attends the
traditional ceremonies of his Diné and Lakota heritage.
parents, Lenny Foster of Window Rock and Theresa Gutierrez of Denver,
were members of the American Indian Movement and were at the siege
of Wounded Knee in 1973.
has a degree in Sociology and after his professional basketball
tour he plans to return to the Navajo Reservation to teach and coach.