Zach Foley Grew His Skill In Newburgh & Just Tipped Basket 1,000
By James McVey
On January 11, Goshen High School senior Zack Foley became the fifth 1,000 point scorer in his high school’s history. A moment that the 5’9”, 170lb, 17-year-old had dreamed of and focused on materializing for years. He began playing varsity from the start of his sophomore year, and went into his senior year with 766 points. But this is far from the end of the road for him. With a bright future, Zack is far from done. Not even a week after obtaining this amazing athletic accomplishment, he continued his string of feats. On January 16 against Chester High School, he scored 38 points, with nine assists, a new personal best. It takes a special kind of player to reach this milestone, and the journey can be traced back to a very specific origin.
At six years old Zack started playing basketball at a small gym in Newburgh, for the Zion Lions. His first coach was Harold Rayford Jr., who now runs his own prep school down south. At the age of 11 he began to play for the Zion Lions’ AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) team, coached by Harold Rayford Sr. who became a strong influence and mentor for Zack. He continued to play on this team until 17. During these years he participated in various camps such as 5-Star Basketball, Point Guard College, and over twenty Hoop Group events. The Zion Lion’s program is unique in that it is run by dedicated volunteers who pour hours into improving the skills and lives of young athletes in Newburgh, as well as surrounding areas. There are outlets for multiple ability levels, and room for rapid growth. When you walk into the gym it feels as if you are interacting with a family.
The first thing that coach Rayford told me was, “Zack has been battle tested.” He quickly elaborated on how Zack “is not afraid of anything” and “size doesn’t matter to him. What separates him from other players is that he has a deep conceptual understanding of the game, and an unbridled passion and penchant for practice.” As of this writing, Foley said he averages 15+ hours a week, shooting in the gym. His father, Scott Foley, agrees wholeheartedly with coach Rayford, saying, “Good competition in a small gym helped make him the player he is now. He sees the floor very well” Coach Rayford recalled, “Zack has played against the best of the best, always giving 100%+ in every game. If I was going to war, I’d want to take him with me.” The travel Zack did for the love of the game was more than just Goshen to Newburgh. Games took him to places such as: Orlando, Florida, New York City, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Jersey, and more. The interview with coach Rayford ended with him remarking, “He has a bright future ahead of him, if he just gets given one chance, I know he will prove himself.”
Over the first 12 games played this year Foley averaged 24.75 points per game, 4.9 rebounds, and 8 assists. His sights are currently on helping bring home the Section 9 title for Goshen, and finding a college that will provide him with strong competition. Currently there are numerous Divison II schools expressing interest. Those schools are not alone. There are also colleges outside of the US who are vying to add him to their roster in the fall.
While his modesty was apparent, when asked what he would tell a young player who had dreams similar to his, he replied, “You just have to work hard and can’t let other people get to you. I feel that I was judged at every gym I walked into. You have to be confident in yourself and your abilities.” When questioned about college he was quick to say, “All I really want, is the opportunity to play, with some good competition.” There are a lot of people who believe Zack Foley is Division I material. Foley added, “I want to thank my dad for pushing me, and providing me opportunities that most people don’t have, and my mom who has always had my back and supportedme.”
Earning 1,000 points was the achievement of just one of his dreams
(Photo by James McVey)