When Gary Forbes was a player at UMass, he and then Minuteman coach Travis Ford were tight. They had similar competitive streaks and Forbes was a perfect player in Ford's system.
So I called Ford tonight to get a comment on Forbes' reaching the NBA. The former UMass coach was excited at the news.
I've talked to him quite often. We stayed in contact and talked a lot lately. It was great to get the phone call from him.
Ford said Forbes tried to play it nonchalant when he called
"He was like 'Hey coach, how're you doing?' and I was like "Did you make it?!"
"Here's a kid who just kept believing in himself more than anything. When he was playing over in Stillwater he'd come over and spend time with me in Stillwater. He kept saying 'Coach I'm going to make it.'"
"Last season he went for the money which I thought was a smart idea, but he kept saying he was going to make it. I think he finally got in the right system."
"He's done the hardest part. The hardest part is getting in. He's a guy that could stick around for a while. He's played well in the preseason and has been able to show what he's capable of doing. He's gotten a lot better since he's left UMass."
"It goes two ways. I'm still in touch with a couple players, who played for me in my first year at Oklahoma State. If you see a guy like that it makes you want to keep trying. But a very small percentage accomplish what Gary is able to accomplish. A very very small percentage. Guys who've been out of college for two years don't usually make it. Some of these guys I'm talking to probably aren't going to make it, but this gives them a little bit of hope to keep going. Players don't realize who hard it is to make the league."