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COLLEGE BASKETBALL: Forbes set to break record for games played at Eastern Washington
By Fedor Gaponenko, EWU Sports Information
Eastern Washington University men’s basketball player Jeffrey Forbes long ago established himself as a complete player who brings intensity and energy to both the offensive and defensive side.
Now, as the end of the senior guard’s career draws near, he is not only earning respect for his consistency of playing well on the court, but also for his durability to always stay on it.
Currently, Forbes has played in 109 games to rank seventh in school history, and by the end of the season could break Marc Axton’s (2002-05) school record of 119 games played.
“It would mean a lot and is a big accomplishment," said Forbes, who won a state championship at Federal Way High School his senior season. "It shows that I love playing the game.”
He has also started 98 career games, and his 100th could occur at EWU’s next home game on Monday against Portland State.
“It’s hard to explain because it’s an accomplishment and goal that I’ve been trying to reach as a player," Forbes said. "Luckily, I’ve been able to stay healthy and keep that starting spot.”
If he doesn’t miss another game, Axton’s games played record will be tied on Feb. 28 when EWU hosts Northern Colorado and broken when the Eagles host North Dakota on Senior Day on the afternoon of March 2 against North Dakota.
“Eating healthy is a big thing. Making sure I eat all the right things," Forbes said. "Mostly though, it’s going to the gym and getting my workouts in. Lifting weights really keeps you in shape and healthy.”
Forbes gives opponents headaches by being a prolific 3-point shooter and an 88 percent free throw shooter.
Currently, he is third all-time at Eastern in 3-pointers made (164) and fourth in attempts (434), and is 20 makes and 65 attempts away from the school record. In his career at the free throw line, Forbes has made what would be a school record at 87.9 percent (152-of-173), but he is 45 attempts shy to meet the minimum of two free throw attempts per game.
“It’s a lot of work – you have to put in a lot of work in everything you do," Forbes said. "Some people are gifted, but the really good shooters out-work the talented players. Since I’ve been playing basketball I was always coached on shooting techniques and repetition.”
He also has scored 954 points in his career -- just 46 from the coveted 1,000-point mark.
Not only is he a sharp shooter, but he also prides himself on being a high energy defender. His defensive prowess shows up in the steals column where he is currently eighth all-time in school history with 113 and is only four away from ranking sixth.
“You can’t win games without defense," said Forbes. "My mentality is if I stop my guy we have a better chance of winning. And if everyone stops their guy we have a better chance of winning. I try to set the tone on defense. I like being the hustle player with energy, and let everyone know that if we want to win we have to get it done on defense.”
Forbes is glad to be able to accomplish these milestones, but right now he and the team are focused on finishing the season strong and getting into the Big Sky Conference Tournament. His team’s next game is Saturday (Jan. 26) at Southern Utah, followed by a three-game homestand.
“I just try to lead by example," Forbes said. "I want to do everything the right way and show that what you do off the court affects what you do on the court. I try to be a good student as well, and show that education is important.”
Forbes and the Eagles are struggling this season with a 4-14 record, including a 2-6 record in the Big Sky Conference. Eastern still hasn't won a game on the road this year (0-9).
“We did have a lot of bumps and we had to get over them," Forbes said. "To make us a great team, we just need to play hard, stick together and listen to the coaches. We just have to keep grinding. There will be bumps but it’s about how you respond to them.”