Hard work pays off for Mr. Basketball winner Foster Loyer

David Goricki
The Detroit News
Foster Loyer poses with the Mr. Basketball trophy on Monday in Detroit.

Detroit – Foster Loyer made a name for himself his freshman year at Clarkston when he led his team to 24 straight wins, scoring 35 in a regional championship triumph over Macomb Dakota before a quarterfinal loss, landing a spot on The Detroit News Class A all-state first-team.

Loyer has continued his outstanding play ever since, highlighted with Clarkston’s first state championship in school history last year, and the chance to possibly repeat this weekend in East Lansing.

For his accomplishments, Loyer was recognized by BCAM voters as Michigan’s Mr. Basketball, an award he accepted in a ceremony in downtown Detroit Monday, accompanied by his parents, younger brother, coaches and players.

Clarkston (23-1) will play Flint Carman-Ainsworth in a state quarterfinal Tuesday night at Grand Blanc with the winner moving on to Friday’s state semifinal at the Breslin Center, Loyer’s future home when he plays at Michigan State.

Loyer won the prestigious honor by a 3,691-2,792 points margin over Michigan-bound forward Brandon Johns of East Lansing. Detroit East English point guard David DeJulius (Michigan) finished third (2,542), followed by Grand Rapids Catholic Central forward Marcus Bingham Jr. (1,405, Michigan State), and Detroit Henry Ford Academy power forward Trevion Williams (1,024, Purdue).

“It’s kind of a surreal moment being here today, and I’m certainly grateful to be able celebrate this moment with my family, my coaches, my teammates, and to finally have this, my name is on the trophy and just walking in this room was awesome,” said the 6-foot Loyer, who is averaging 26 points and six assists. “I can’t thank people who have behind me enough. It’s a great start to the week. I think it helps motivate me to go and get a win tomorrow and hopefully two more after that.

“A couple weeks ago I thought I’d might be out for the season with my knee injury so I’m grateful to be here at this moment, I’m grateful to have the teammates that I have behind me and I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”

Loyer suffered a slight meniscus tear in his left knee during the last week of the regular season, missing his lone high school game March 1 when Clarkston defeated Hazel Park to win the OAA Red title outright. He returned to average 24 points during the four postseason games.

“It’s good, I’m ready to play tomorrow,” Loyer said about his knee.

Clarkston has been 94-6 during the last four years with Loyer leading the way. Dane Fife, now an assistant coach at Michigan State, won Mr. Basketball while playing guard for Clarkston 20 years ago before moving on to Indiana.

No doubt, Loyer hopes he can duplicate Fife’s success at the next level at Michigan State.

Loyer is coached at Clarkston by Dan Fife, Dane’s father who earned his 700th career win in a Class A regional final victory over Orchard Lake St. Mary’s last Wednesday.

St. Mary’s was Clarkston’s opponent in Loyer’s first high school game back in December 2014. He didn’t feel he had a chance to be Mr. Basketball at that time, but he felt he had a chance at the end of that first season.

“I’d say that first game against St. Mary’s, my No. 1 goal when I came in as a freshman with maybe 10 or 11 seniors on that team was not to upset my seniors,” said Loyer. “My goal was probably not to turn the ball over and get pulled out. As the season went on and we had the success that we had, my teammates put me in position to be the leader of that team, and really what was special in the regionals was to take over late in those couple of games to get those wins. I think that’s when I kind of realized that (Mr. Basketball) was my ultimate goal and I had a shot to do that. It would just take a lot of hard work.”

Dan Fife said Loyer put in a lot of hard work, which makes him well-deserving of the honor.

“I’m proud of him and elated that everybody else in the state saw in him what I was able to see the last four years; it’s quite an accomplishment,” Fife said. “It’s not rocket science how he got where he got. This kid works his butt off every day, never goes a day without getting his shots in, and he’s always thinking of other ways to improve. He’s never satisfied. If he has a bad day he’s back in the gym shooting and if he has a great day he’s back in the gym shooting.”

Fife has been impressed with Loyer’s ability to compete at such a high level despite being a “marked man” every game.

“Everyone’s putting their best guy on him to guard him,” Fife said. “But that’s really helped him improve. He’s actually a coach involved in the game and there’s not too many kids like that.”

Loyer got his love for the game through his father, former Pistons assistant coach John Loyer, who is now a scout with the Los Angeles Clippers.

“Anytime you can see your kid be happy and win a prestigious award like this, of course it means a lot,” said John Loyer. “It does kind of just show him that hard work does pay off, being very diligent about his work every single day.

“He’s always been with me, all the places I’ve coached from probably the second grade on. He’s been a ball boy, the littlest kid in the gym most nights. He just always tagged along and fell in love with the game. So it made it a lot of fun for him, and you want to spend time with your kid, so to be able to do your job and be around your kid, it means a lot to me.”