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COACH SPOTLIGHT: GERMAYNE FORBES

"FORBES IS THE BEST BRITISH GUARD EVER TO EMERGE OUT OF WEST LONDON"

WEST LONDON'S FINEST: GERMAYNE FORBES

Germayne Forbes is widely revered in basketball circles as one of the most talented and accomplished players to ever emerge from West London. Born and raised in Ladbroke Grove, Forbes is the only player in British basketball history to go straight from the English Junior National League, directly into a top-tier NCAA Division 1 college without spending any time in high school, prep school, or Junior College beforehand. No easy feat, as players from the UK traditionally need at least 1-2 years to acclimatise and transition into the pace, quality, and competitiveness of US collegiate basketball.

After establishing himself as an unstoppable force in the English National League, once scoring 73 points in the highest division for under 18’s in the country, Forbes earned the opportunity to attend a summer camp in America. Once there, he wasted no time in introducing an audience of college coaches and scouts to his precocious skillset, honed through thousands of hours of dedicated practice on the outdoor courts underneath the Westway flyover back in Ladbroke Grove. Dismantling all who stood before him with his feathery soft jump shot and hypnotic handle, Forbes was unexpectedly awarded camp MVP honours in his first foray on American soil.

The MVP performance at the Snow Valley Camp led to a full athletic scholarship being offered by NCAA Division 1 powerhouse, Gonzaga University. Just like that, the youngster from London found himself thrust into the limelight as part of an elite American college program who went on consecutive deep runs in the most viewed basketball competition in the world - March Madness (the high-profile NCAA Basketball Tournament that features the very best aspiring players in all of America). To this day, Forbes remains part of an ultra-exclusive group of British players who have made it through to and played in the ‘Sweet 16’.

Though Gonzaga achieved previously unprecedented levels of success while the West Londoner was on the squad, Forbes grew frustrated with a limited role which saw him predominantly playing back up to All-American and future NBA player, Dan Dickau (who was also 2 years older and an upperclassman).  Though there were promising signs for what could have been, if Forbes had waited until Dickau graduated (such as the 12, 18, and then 20 point scoring outburst over a 3 game span in which he started in Dickau’s absence through injury), ultimately as he finished his Sophomore season, Forbes made the decision to leave Gonzaga and transferred to West Georgia University for his final 2 years of college eligibility.  

Many wonder what might have been, had the talented Londoner stayed with the perennial NCAA contender, as he may well have gotten the court time he craved and deserved as Dickau moved onto the NBA.  Forbes could have been ‘up next’, the talent was certainly there. With 2 years of high-profile exposure and an opportunity to show his full skillset to NBA scouts and many millions through the TV exposure the ‘Zags received, it’s wholly conceivable that Forbes story may have gone mainstream by him realising a childhood dream of making the NBA.   More of a natural scorer than a pure playmaker, at 6’1 (with a 6’7 wingspan), Forbes game was reminiscent of the type of guards who flood the NBA today.  Given the opportunity and right situation who knows what may have been…

During his 2 year stop in West Georgia, Forbes blazed a historic trail across the peach-belt, earning ‘All-Conference’ honours in an increased role which saw him average 15ppg while establishing himself as one of the best 3-point and free-throw shooters in all of America.  ‘West London’s Finest’ still ranks as the 4th best free-throw shooter of all-time in the Gulf Coast Conference, hitting 92% from the charity stripe.  Forbes was also one of the top 3-point shooters across the NCAA ranks, connecting on 44% from beyond 3.

After being voted athlete of the year at West Georgia in his Senior season, Forbes moved on to enjoy a 12 year European and International career, highlighted by a medal-winning performance for England at the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia (making one of the All-Tournament teams in the process).  Forbes also went onto represent Great Britain at the senior men's level and has earned professional playing contracts in France, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, and Great Britain.

In addition to a stellar collegiate and professional career, Forbes has built arguably an unrivaled reputation as a summer basketball and UK streetball legend.  One of the very few players who are able to excel at a high level in both styles of play, (structured systems of the regular season and creative freedom of summer pick up basketball), many consider Forbes to be the gold standard when it comes to summer hoops.  A Midnight Madness champion who led the MM UK team to their first-ever historic victory on US soil (vs Chicago), putting British ballers on the global summer basketball map, Forbes reputation as a clutch player who has the ability to rise to any occasion, is forever cemented across UK folklore.

Forbes practice habits became the stuff of legend during his playing career, often incorporating what others considered 'unorthodox' training methods into his regimen at the time, but have since proven to be at the apex of modern training technique. Now fully-qualified as an accredited coach, his mission is to pass on the valuable lessons he has learned along his way to the next generation.

The LSB is honoured to have him on board with our camps and Academies programs as the opportunity to learn from such an accomplished player who has the ability to share his experiences and training techniques is extremely rare.  We salute the legend and welcome him to the LSB family.

DUKE-JERMAINE FORBES

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