In the blink of the eye, Randy Foye has been in the NBA for over a decade. College still seems like yesterday for the former Villanova standout, especially when he returns to Philadelphia.
"It's a dream come true," Foye, now 33, said. "It's my 11th year and it seems like it went by so fast. ... I still feel as though I'm a kid. That's how I know I really enjoy playing the game a lot."
Foye, the starting point guard for the Brooklyn Nets, reflected as he sat in the visiting locker room of the Wells Fargo Center to play the Sixers. The arena held an important meaning to him as he chased his pro dreams in college.
"This is a special place," Foye said. "Even though we play on the Main Line, this is where it all started, where you got that atmosphere of your lifetime of being an NBA player and you got a chance to play in the building Allen Iverson was putting up big numbers in every night."
Foye was drafted seventh overall in 2006. The Celtics traded him to the Trail Blazers on draft night, and he has suited up for seven teams over his career.
Foye reflects on his collegiate success with pride. The team's accomplishments supersede his awards, which included Big East Player of the Year, Wooden Award Finalist, Sporting News First Team All-American and Big 5 Outstanding Player of the Year.
"The tenacity, resiliency that no matter size or height, guard someone that's seven inches taller than you, we just fought every single day," Foye said. "That's what stands out to me. Not all the accolades I received or Allan Ray or those guys, but just the heart that we had."
Foye respected that same fight from this year's Villanova squad, who were eliminated in the second round by Wisconsin. The Wildcats earned the top overall seed in the tournament coming off a title season.
"They had a great year," Foye said. "No matter what happens in the NCAA Tournament, obviously we want them go win it every year, but that's impossible."
As new Villanova players enter the NBA, Foye tries to be a veteran mentor the way Kerry Kittles was for him. Foye considers himself to have a "grandfather" role to alumni and wants to keep a connection with all of those from the school.
"It's unique," Foye said, "because I just look at it like Coach (Jay Wright) always says to me: 'Tradition never dies.'"