Sports | Basketball

Senior co-captain Foley prepared to lead Light Blue once again

No player on the Columbia basketball team has shone as brightly as Patrick Foley over the past three years. Despite an unfortunate proclivity for injuries, the 6-foot-2, 185-pound guard continues to lead by example for the Lions year after year. Now entering his senior year, Foley will serve as team co-captain for the second straight season. During this past offseason, Foley was nominated as one of 30 national candidates for the prestigious 2009-2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award for his achievements both on and off the hardwood.

Foley refined his basketball prowess on the court at St. Anthony’s High School in Blue Point, N.Y. As a junior, he averaged 16 points and six assists per game, earning him All-CHSAA honors. As captain, Foley averaged 22 points, six assists, and two steals per game. His other high school accolades include being a three-year letter winner, fourth team all-state, and NSCHSAA Player of the Year.

Foley broke into the scene at Columbia during his first year as a stalwart bench player and saw playing time in 25 of the team’s 28 games. Foley was named Ivy League Rookie of the Week for his exceptional performances in Columbia’s games against Yale and Brown in which he sank all of his 12 free throws and averaged 15 points and 5.5 assists per game. In the Lions’ game against Kennesaw State, Foley played a season-high 30 minutes and scored 10 points with four assists. The spectacle merited him a coveted spot on the all-tournament team for the Third Annual Tyler Ugolyn Columbia Classic. Foley finished his rookie season ranked second on the Light Blue with 8.9 points per game and third on the team with 222 total points on the season.

After his breakout rookie year, a series of injuries sidelined Foley for a large portion of his sophomore season. Foley’s agility and tendency to drive the basket made his wiry frame particularly susceptible to injury. About two-thirds of the way into the season he tore his labral, an injury that would land him on the bench for most of the remaining games. Still, Foley played in nine games and averaged 6.6 points per game with 28 assists and two steals, including 11 points and a season-high five rebounds in Columbia’s game against Delaware State.

Despite the setbacks, Foley was named co-captain as a junior last season. However, injuries limited him to playing in just 19 games, though he started in a career-high nine games. Foley led the Lions in points per game with 10.9 and assists per game with 2.5. He also averaged a career-high 25.5 minutes per game with 1.6 rebounds per game. Foley’s stats, along with his academic prowess off the court, made him just the second player in the program’s history to earn the honor of Academic All-American.

Despite a limited training regimen over the summer, Foley seems optimistic about his health entering the upcoming season.

“This is probably the best physically I’ve felt coming into the season,” Foley said. “I think my body has matured a little bit and my legs are feeling good.”

Columbia head coach Joe Jones seems to agree, and expects that Foley will be back in full flight this season.

“Pat has looked stronger in the last week or two,” Jones said. “As we start to play he’s going to get better and better. “

As for the 2009-2010 campaign, Foley has high hopes for the Light Blue.

“I think its one of the more talented teams we’ve had since we’ve been here,” he said. “It will probably be rocky to start out with, but it will just be a matter of seeing it through and maintaining chemistry throughout the season.”

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