Zack Foley scores 1,000 points in Goshen Gladiators basketball

A star is born: As Zack keeps his eye on the ball, keep your eye on him

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  • Zack Foley (Photo provided)

  • Zack Foley (Photo provided)

  • Zack Foley (Photo provided)

"They believe in me to make the right decision. They know I’m looking for them for shots. The team always has my back. Being a member of a team has shown that it’s more than a team, it’s a family.”
Zack Foley

By Ginny Privitar

— Goshen basketball player and senior Zack Foley has scored over 1,000 points so far — and the season isn’t over yett.

The milestone came in a 57-55 win over Monticello’s Panthers on Jan. 8. That’s a very big deal. Zack’s only the fifth player in Goshen history to achieve that mark.

Goshen High School Basketball Coach Mike Tangney explained the reasons, besides talent, behind Zack’s success.

“I’ve known Zack for over 10 years and had the privilege of coaching him the last three years," he said. "And in my time as head coach of the Boys’ Basketball team in Goshen, Zack is one of the hardest workers I’ve ever seen. On top of the regular practice hours he puts in, he spends time playing, practicing, working out and going to watch games on a daily basis.”

Zack credits his dad, Scott Foley, for getting him interested in sports in the first place.

“He always pushed me to do everything and try out all sports, and I’ve narrowed it down to basketball," he said. "That’s my main focus. That’s what I want to do.”

He didn’t play varsity basketball until sophomore year, when he scored his first varsity points. He’s #15 on the team and at 5 feet, 9 inches tall usually plays point guard. Since he does a lot of scoring, he’s classified as a scoring point guard. His secondary position is shooting guard. The point guard controls the game and has the ball in his hands for most of it.

'The heart of a lion'He’s a well-rounded player that opponents find difficult to guard because he can shoot with either hand. Long-time Division Coach Pat Kennedy saw Zack play at an AAU game in New Jersey when he was a freshman and told Zack’s dad that Zack could be a Division I player.

Zack also plays on two AAU clubs: the Early Risers and the Newburgh Zion Lions. There's often greater competition at these games and a chance for college coaches to spot up-and-coming talent.

“The game of basketball is all about growing through the challenges," said Harold Rayford, Zack's coach at the Newburgh Zion Lions. "Zack has always been battle-tested. Through those battles, he constantly showed that he has the heart of a lion. Zack gave me 100 percent always and was a role model for my younger teams. We would practice some days at 6 a.m. Zack would be there at 5:30 a.m., making that drive from Goshen to the City of Newburgh. He was very committed to The Newburgh Zion Lions. I see a great future for this young man.”

In one exciting AAU game on April 14, 2018, Zack scored 40 points in a championship win for the Newburgh Zion Lions against the Brooklyn Kings.

His heroes in the NBA are Stephen Curry and Trae Young. He admires their style of play.

“They can score and when picked up on" — kept from scoring — "they can make the right pass” he said.

He also plays tennis and has been on the varsity golf team since seventh grade. He was named a Goshen Student-Athlete of the Month in February 2018.

Zack excels academically, too. He maintains a 90 GPA and is in advanced honors classes. He will graduate this June but hasn’t solidified his college plans yet. He expects to major in business and, of course, hopes to play basketball.

“I’ve been looked at by a few D-2 schools, but think I could play Division I Basketball,” he said. “If I had the opportunity, I would definitely be a professional player.”

Training his way to the topHe doesn’t follow any particular diet regimen but does train intensively.

“I lift weights to keep body weight up and make sure I’m stronger than my opponents on the court,” he said.

Zack does most of his basketball training at GymRatz Performance Center in Florida, N.Y. He lifts weights and strengthens his legs on a Vertimax machine for jumping and quickness.

As for mental preparation, he says he tries to always stay confident and keep his head up. While not as tall as some players, he finds ways to see down the court and uses his quickness and strength. He tries to force opponents to shoot with their weaker hand. That’s not a problem for him, since he can shoot either right- or left-handed.

He’s grateful to his coaches and teammates.

"They believe in me to make the right decision," he said. "They know I’m looking for them for shots. The team always has my back. Being a member of a team has shown that it’s more than a team, it’s a family.”

What qualities do good coaches share?

“Good coaches share a quality of good communication with their players," said Zack. "They motivate players by bringing the energy during practice and games because energy is contagious. All of my coaches — Mike Tangney for Goshen, Harold Rayford for Newburgh Zion Lions and Bob Rahn for EarlyRisers — are all great motivational coaches who excel at their craft.”

He has some advice for aspiring athletes.

“Always practice and work hard," he said. "If you put in the time and effort, it will pay off.”

And Zack Foley is the prime example. As he keeps his eye on the ball, keep your eye on him.

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