Mississippi State women's coach Vic Schaefer must be forgiven if he checked twice that Candace Foster was on the bus for Duluth, Ga.
He just doesn't want to enter any competitive situation like the Southeastern Conference Tournament without the junior guard being around.
Without Foster's presence, practices haven't turned out very well and her play during games has been valuable also for the Bulldogs.
"You talk about a kid who was a walk-on before we got here and we started her on and off throughout the season," Schaefer said. "I can't have practice without her. She's our energizer bunny. Practices are not any good if she's not in the building. We've had to work around that a little bit with her class schedule."
Foster's impact has not only been felt on the court, but around the community as well.
For her service in the local area, Foster was recognized on Monday as a member of the SEC Community Service Team.
The honor was something Foster embraced because Starkville has meant so much to her since arriving from Jackson.
"This is such a great community that has been instrumental in my growth as a young women during my time at Mississippi State," Foster said.
"It's important for me to give back to the community. My desire to give back is what led me to wanting to be an educator."
Foster was exposed to area schools with the Bully's Book Blitz program, which stresses the importance of reading. She participated in Christmas giveaways with the collection of school supplies and toys for children.
With her work as an active member of Mississippi State's M-Club student-athlete service organization and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Foster is deserving of the SEC recognition in the eyes of her coach.
"She is that award," Schaefer said. "She's a tremendous Christian young lady, a spiritual leader and lives the right way. She makes great decisions and she's a Mississippi State Bulldog."
As part of FCA, Foster has served as a sports camp instructor and been a featured speaker to local middle school students.
Foster and the Bulldogs take on Alabama today at the SEC Tournament. The tip at the Gwinnett Center in Duluth is set for 5 p.m.