It came down to Duke, Syracuse and Colgate, and on Nov. 17, 1993, the Hamilton High auditorium was filled with townspeople and members of the news media, all anxious about hearing Foyle's choice. "I've made my decision," he said. "I'm going back to the Caribbean."
After some nervous laughter, Foyle said he was going to Colgate because of the academic environment, and he wasn't joking. "It also made sense from a basketball standpoint," says Jay Mandle. "Jack Bruen is a great teacher, and Adonal gets to learn in a fairly low-pressure environment against some pretty good competition."
Bruen, who had already transformed the Colgate program from disastrous to respectable, was ecstatic, of course. "Next to the days my two children were born, this is the best day of my life," he said. The coaching staff of the Colgate women's basketball team sent Bruen champagne with which to celebrate.
The next day, papers in central New York and North Carolina carried either SYRACUSE FOYLED or DUKE FOYLED headlines. But the best reaction came from Kevin Joyce, a Hamilton High teammate of Foyle's. "It takes a big man to make a decision like that," he told Foyle.
Since Foyle's life is playing out like a movie, let's cut to the Colgate campus one year later and an acting class conducted by professor Katherine Liepe-Levinson. Two of her students are on a makeshift stage, acting out a scene from The Sign in Sidney Brustein's Window, a play about a young Jewish couple written by African-American playwright Lorraine Hansberry. When the scene is finished, the professor asks the class what the scene was about, and the 6'10" student in the back raises his hand.
"It's about choice," says Foyle. "It's about the conflict between the guy, who wants to live in the country, and the girl, who wants to live in the city."
After class Liepe-Levinson says, "Adonal has been a wonderful student, He's quite willing to step outside himself and project another character. He's goal-oriented, which you would expect from a basketball player, but he also shows a sensitivity you might not expect."
"I love acting," says Foyle, "and the feeling of freedom you get every time you assume a role. I also think it helps my basketball. In acting we are taught to show pain and anguish even though we feel no pain. It's the same as taking a charge."
Besides acting and general education, Foyle took economics and astronomy in the fall semester. He lives in a dorm, in a single so as not to make any of the 250 freshmen who wanted to room with him envious, and he is doing just fine socially, academically and athletically. The Mandles still keep close tabs on him, and some people might think they're overprotective. But they have invested a lot in Adonal, emotionally, financially and otherwise. At least they can laugh about it. The other day, when Joan complained that a liver test given to Adonal cost $800, Jay said, "Well, he's got a big liver."
Some things you can't put a price on. Whenever Adonal calls Joan "Mom" or Jay "Dad" or Jon "Bro," there is no hint of self-consciousness in his voice. Foyle may be a culture apart from the Mandles, but their closeness seems perfectly natural.