NEW YORK — Like one of his oldest friends, Marcus Foster has just about seen it all in college athletics. A fifth-year senior guard at Creighton, he sat out one year as a redshirt for a reason he didn’t see coming when he started his career.

And from day one, Foster said, he’s known there was plenty of potential in that schoolyard teammate of his: fifth-year senior Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett.

“Oh, everybody always gravitated to him,” Foster told The Dispatch last Wednesday at Big East media day inside Madison Square Garden. “Every team I was on that had him, he was always the leader of the team. He had a way with words as a young person. He knew how to motivate people, so I think that’s what he’s good at now. He just carried it over and got even better at it. I think the best thing about him is he leads by example off the field. That’s why people really respect him.”

Foster and Barrett both hail from Wichita Falls, Texas. They went to different high schools – Foster to Hirschi, Barrett to Rider – but spent much of their formidable years as teammates after meeting each other in third grade.

And, Foster said, Barrett was a baller.

“J.T. is one of the best basketball players you’ll meet,” Foster said. “If he really decided to play basketball, he would’ve been a Division I basketball player, easy. We used to play on a YMCA team together growing up and we used to give a lot of teams problems. He played small forward for us because he was kind of a taller person. He had a shot and you knew with his big body he could get to the rim and get easy buckets.”

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Foster spent his first two seasons at Kansas State, where he averaged 14.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.2 assists before transferring to Creighton. Last season, he averaged 18.2 points per game for the Bluejays, the most for a newcomer in program history.

Barrett is a three-time captain at Ohio State whose name dots the upper echelon of the career rankings in every important category for Ohio State quarterbacks. The two spent some time together when the Buckeyes played at Nebraska, which is a little less than an hour away, and typically catch up in person back home around Christmas.

From afar, Foster said he’s enjoyed getting to watch his friend’s career progress.

“It’s amazing,” he said. “To watch him grow up and put in the work and time and now he’s on the big level and everybody is talking about him, I’m just amazed to be one of his friends and see what he’s gone through.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy