Reaching New Heights

—As told to Loran Cook

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David Foster stands tall, but not just on the basketball court.

It’s not hard for 7-foot-3-inch (2.8-meter) David Foster to stand out in a crowd. But standing up for what he believes in is something he has grown into his whole life. A recently returned missionary, David attends the Salt Lake University 28th Ward. In addition to playing college basketball, he serves as president of the LDS Athletes Association at the institute of religion, where he encourages other athletes to be involved in gospel study. In addition, David is a mentor for student athletes who need to improve their grades.

Your family lives in Lake Forest, California. Do they miss you? I have eight brothers and sisters; three are under five years old. We got to do a Web chat yesterday, and they miss me like crazy.

You are a returned missionary and a successful basketball player. Do your younger siblings look up to you? Both my older sister and I served missions, and my dad has always made serving a mission a point with us kids. He tells the younger ones that they have to look up to our examples and that they should do the same thing.

Did you always want to play basketball? I actually grew up as a soccer player. I found I had more passion kicking the ball around with my feet. I loved it. I still do, but I just don’t have much of an opportunity to play soccer right now.

As a student athlete do you find it hard to fit everything in? It can be. I need to be better at using a planner, but I have a pretty good memory. I just need to prioritize things now even more because I plan to be married in the temple in May.

What are you doing to prioritize right now? Setting goals is really the most important thing right now. Church, taking care of things in the classroom and on the court, and of course being with my fiancée. I think that falls under church and preparing ourselves.

Do you think your mission prepared you for what you are doing on court? Absolutely. I think the difference between leadership in the mission and leadership in basketball is trying to get into the rhythm of things in basketball and learning the game and being able to speak up and be a voice on the team.

Do you have any advice for those preparing to go on a mission? Yes. Learn to communicate and develop people skills. Also, drench yourself in the Preach my Gospel manual. It’s inspired writing from Church leaders, and our mission focused heavily on that manual.

What have you learned since coming home from your mission? Do the simple things. Success lies in those details. If I continue to read my scriptures, pray daily, pay my tithing, and attend the temple, the Lord is going to take care of me. Just the simple things like that add up.

Photograph by Paul VanDenBerghe