Forbes set to play hoops at Eastern

Federal Way High School senior guard Jeff Forbes averaged 12 points a game last year’s second-place Eagles team. He will officially sign with Eastern on Nov. 12.   - Casey Olson/staff photo
Federal Way High School senior guard Jeff Forbes averaged 12 points a game last year’s second-place Eagles team. He will officially sign with Eastern on Nov. 12.
— image credit: Casey Olson/staff photo

Jeff Forbes will remain an Eagle, at least for the next four years.

The ultra-quick 6-foot Federal Way High School senior basketball player recently made a verbal commitment to play for the Eastern Washington University Eagles and head coach Kirk Earlywine. Forbes will make it official on Nov. 12, the first day high school basketball players can officially sign a national letter of intent.

“I wanted to get all that (recruiting) out of the way,” Forbes said. “My senior year is going to be more fun without any worries or concerns.”

Forbes took his official recruiting visit to the Eastern Washington campus in Cheney the last weekend in September. It was the only official visit Forbes took. He was also being recruited by the University of Portland and Portland State.

“The visit went well,” Forbes said. “They took me around campus and I got to sit in on some classes. They showed me around all the facilities and I got to play with the players a little bit. They were cool to talk to and they are stronger and bigger than players in high school.”

Forbes was Federal Way’s second-leading scorer at 12 points a game last season and also shot 52 percent from the field and an amazing 50 percent from behind the 3-point line. Forbes also had 17 points during state tournament wins over Franklin and Decatur, and hit several clutch free throws during the postseason.

“(Eastern) started talking to me last year,” Forbes said. “They liked the way I played defense and the way I shoot the ball.”

Forbes has developed a reputation of being one of the better defenders and long-distance shooters in the South Puget Sound League and the state during his three seasons at Federal Way.

The 2008 Class 4A State Tournament is when Forbes really burst onto the scene, as far as interest outside of Federal Way. After finishing fourth in the eight-team SPSL North Division, the Eagles made an improbable run into the Class 4A state title game, which they lost to the unbeaten Ferris Saxons. Forbes was fabulous during the run, scoring in double figures in seven of the Eagles’ nine games.

“(Eastern) has been recruiting him ever since the state tournament last year,” longtime Federal Way High School head coach Jerome Collins said. “He plays great defense. It’s not all on scoring. But he has tremendous upside.”

Forbes will be one of four starters returning from last year’s team, including Cole Dickerson, Andre Barrington and Isiah Umipig. Also joining this year’s team will be point guard Michael Hale, who was an All-SPSL first-teamer last season at Decatur.

“We want a state ring,” Forbes said. “A championship. The summer went well. We did a lot of hard work and everybody will share the ball.”

This will be the fourth year in a row that a Federal Way player has signed with a Division I college program. Terrell Smith inked with the University of the Pacific in 2006, Pooh Williams signed with Utah State in ‘07 and Aaron Broussard will be playing at Seattle University this year.

“All the worries and headaches are over,” Collins said. “They know where they are headed and can concentrate on playing instead of going through that process. It is easier to concentrate and get all that out of the way.”

That streak should continue next season. Junior Cole Dickerson, a 6-foot-7 forward, is already getting tons of interest from programs like the University of Washington and other Division I programs, according to Collins.

“Lorenzo Romar (UW head coach) was just out here the other day,” he said. “Everybody wants Cole.”

Eastern plays in the competitive Big Sky Conference with schools like Montana, Portland State and Northern Arizona. Last season, Eastern finished 11-19 overall and 6-10 in the league, but failed to advance to the six-team Big Sky Tournament for the second-straight season. Eastern Washington last played at the NCAA Tournament in 2006.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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