Forbes makes decision official, inks with Eastern Washington

Federal Way senior Jeff Forbes, center, signs a letter of intent Wednesday surrounded, left to right,  by his father, Jeff Sr., brother, Jamal, brother, Jonathan, and mother, Jill.  - Casey Olson/staff photo
Federal Way senior Jeff Forbes, center, signs a letter of intent Wednesday surrounded, left to right, by his father, Jeff Sr., brother, Jamal, brother, Jonathan, and mother, Jill.
— image credit: Casey Olson/staff photo

Jeff Forbes is officially an Eastern Washington Eagle.

The Federal Way High School senior guard signed a national letter of intent to play basketball at Eastern Wednesday morning in front of a packed cafeteria, his family and teammates.

Wednesday was the first day high school basketball players could officially sign a Division-I, full-ride letter of intent. Forbes’ scholarship to Eastern has an estimated value of over $120,000, according to longtime Federal Way head basketball coach Jerome Collins.

“It’s just great,” said Forbes’ mother, Jill. “He has worked hard. All the practice, workouts and training has been worth it.”

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

During the regular season, Forbes was Federal Way’s second-leading scorer at 12 points a game and also shot 52 percent from the field and 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.

Forbes has also developed a reputation of being one of the better defenders and long-distance shooters in the SPSL, as well as the state, during his three seasons at Federal Way.

“I picked Eastern so all my friends and family can come and support me,” Forbes said.

Eastern, located in Cheney, 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.

“Eastern will be close enough for us to make it down there,” said Forbes’ father, Jeff Sr. “We are proud of him.”

Forbes’ attention now shifts to bringing the Federal Way boys basketball program its first-ever state championship. The Eagles begin practice on Monday and he 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.

“Everything is looking good,” Forbes said Wednesday. “We have a great team and everybody is ready to work.”

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.

Sports editor Casey Olson: 925-5565,

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