Gazette: Forbes Making Case For NBA Spot - UMass Athletics

Gazette: Forbes Making Case For NBA Spot

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Matt Vautour caught up with UMass alum Gary Forbes, who is pushing for a spot with the Denver Nuggets. Check out his story in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Gary Forbes has been trying to tune out the praise, and there's been a lot of it to tune out. The 25-year-old former University of Massachusetts swingman has gotten his share of it in preseason training camp as he's trying to make the Denver Nuggets.

"It's been pretty good. It won't mean anything until I make the regular season roster which is what I'm here trying to do," said Forbes Wednesday night shortly after the team landed in Los Angeles for Thursday night's game against the Clippers. "I'm doing some good things, but still nothing."

Forbes making his case for NBA spot

Photo: Forbes making his case for NBA spot
AP PHOTO
Portland Trail Blazers guard Jerryd Bayless, right, drives past Denver Nuggets forward Gary Forbes during the second half of a preseason game Friday in Denver. Denver beat Portland 109-99. Forbes, a former star at the University of Massachusetts, is attempting to make the Nuggets regular-season roster.

By MATT VAUTOUR Staff Writer

Gary Forbes has been trying to tune out the praise, and there's been a lot of it to tune out.

The 25-year-old former University of Massachusetts swingman has gotten his share of it in preseason training camp as he's trying to make the Denver Nuggets.

"It's been pretty good. It won't mean anything until I make the regular season roster which is what I'm here trying to do," said Forbes Wednesday night shortly after the team landed in Los Angeles for Thursday night's game against the Clippers. "I'm doing some good things, but still nothing."

The road to Denver has been long. After earning Atlantic 10 Player of the Year honors as a senior in 2008, Forbes was impressive in both the Portsmouth and Orlando predraft camps. But the 6-foot-7 forward still went undrafted.

He then struggled in Washington Wizards camp and ended up in the NBA Development League for the 2008-09 season. After a brief stint in the Philippines, Forbes spent most of last season in Israel.

Through his agent he spent the summer working out with young NBA veterans Kevin Martin and Corey Brewer. He played for the Houston Rockets in the NBA Summer League before landing in Nuggets camp, where he's drawn praise from coach George Karl as well as veteran players.

"Gary's been great. He's had a great camp," Nuggets point guard Chauncey Billups said in an NBA.com article. "He's done everything we've asked of him. He's a really good scorer, slasher. He's done an awesome job. He couldn't be playing any better."

Forbes sought advice from former Minuteman and Denver Nugget Marcus Camby before arriving in Denver. In the same NBA.com article Camby, who now plays for Portland, said he was rooting for Forbes.

"Everybody who I've been talking to has been saying nothing but positive things about him. Word (around the NBA) travels fast. Work hard because you never know who's watching," Camby said. "He definitely can score the basketball. He's a great defensive player and he has a great NBA body. There's very few of us (UMass players) that actually play in the league, so I'm always going to be rooting for him."

Forbes struggled in the first preseason game, but had 15 points in seven minutes against Minnesota on Tuesday. He said he's improved throughout the preseason.

"I've been able to catch on and learn real quick. It's been an easy transition," Forbes said. "I'm mature enough now to know how to handle these things. Coach Karl and all the coaches have been great. My agent did a great job putting me in a good situation. ... It's just basketball. I'm out here playing. Working hard, working on my game, getting better every day."

After Thursday's game against the Clippers, the Nuggets have five more preseason games before rosters are finalized. Their regular season opens Oct. 27.

Forbes said he enjoyed his experience playing overseas but was hoping to put his passport away for a while.

"It was a learning experience going against some good players. I didn't really want to stay overseas anymore. It was a good experience, but now I'm here," said Forbes, who has kept up with former teammate Stephane Lasme, who is in a similar position trying to make the Boston Celtics. "We worked out together this summer. We feel like this is our time to do something good."


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