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Taylorsville • Like any player in the NBA Development League, former University of Utah center David Foster is hoping this is just the beginning for him.

He may settle for a better ending.

Nearly six years after playing his last game for the Utes in the Jim Boylen coaching era, the 7-foot-3 Foster returned to the Salt Lake Valley this week for two games vs. the Salt Lake City Stars. He did his part in two victories for the Los Angeles D-Fenders (26-7), the D-League's best team.

With only eight players available in a 103-100 win Wednesday, Foster played 17 minutes — almost a season high — and posted two points, seven rebounds and two blocked shots. He had six points, two rebounds and three blocks in 12 minutes of Monday's 138-129 victory at Salt Lake Community College, while reuniting with former Ute teammate J.J. O'Brien of the Stars.

In one memorable sequence Wednesday, Foster stuffed O'Brien, which resulted in a jump ball. But then O'Brien scored inside against him on SLC's next possession.

The D-League is oriented to small lineups, fast pace and 3-point shooting. During his time on the court this week, his teammates hardly looked for Foster in the post.

"It can be tough for a big guy in the D-League," Foster said. "You just do what you can, get the minutes you can, go to the boards hard, block shots — and, hopefully, you get noticed."

That's the goal of everybody in this league, with a top salary of $26,000 for players not under contract to an NBA team. A 10-day contract in the NBA is worth more than that figure.

Regardless of where life as a D-Fender leads him, Foster is happy to be healthy. Visiting the Utah campus this week reminded him how he left "injured and beat up," having been unable to play as a senior — with two opportunities to do so. He redshirted in the 2011-12 season as Larry Krystkowiak took over the program after playing in 80 games over three seasons with a church mission in between. Foster tried to come back the following season but was ruled out in October after reinjuring his foot.

"Oh, it was miserable not to get on the court," he said. And that explains why he's in the D-League, approaching his 29th birthday in April: "I wanted some closure from basketball because the way I left [college] basketball wasn't the way I wanted it."

Foster still holds Utah's records for blocked shots in a game (10), season (115) and career (219).

Foster, who is married with two children, has played brief stints in Qatar and Mexico and worked as a substitute teacher. He is averaging about three points and three rebounds in 10 minutes this season. The D-Fenders are affiliated with the Los Angeles Lakers — they play home games on the Lakers' practice court — and have the league's best record, three games better than the closest team, Oklahoma City (23-10).

Twitter: @tribkurt