HE MIGHT NOT BE in the spotlight, but he does all the things that so define basketball at Washington State. He’ll set the screen, take the charge, dive for the loose ball, go up hard with the put back. Tony Bennett jokes that 6-8 senior forward Caleb Forrest doesn’t look like an athlete out on the court.
And he doesn’t care, because the kid from Pagosa Springs, Colo., works tirelessly, plays smart and gets in the right position at the right time.
Forrest is the ultimate blue-collar guy on the ultimate blue-collar team. The Cougars will be young this season, so this avid hunter/fisherman and his three fellow seniors -- Daven Harmeling, Taylor Rochestie and Aron Baynes -- will play critical roles in getting the Cougs off the ground.
Forrest had a modest stat line last year, averaging 3.4 points and 2 rebounds in roughly 12 minutes of playing time per game. Along the way, he ranked third on the team in field goal percentage (.516) and free throw percentage (.778) – two stats aided and abetted by his feathery jump shot and comfort level facing the basket. He also had nine blocks. All those numbers figure to increase significantly this season with the loss of Robbie Cowgill, who filled the same type of “glue guy” role Forrest will probably fill this year.
Look for this guitar playing, Seinfeld-watching, former prep soccer goalie to become more of a household name this year, as the Cougs aim for a third straight invitation to March Madness.
SHORT HAIR OR LONG, FORREST IS TENACIOUS IN THE POST.|
CF.C: If you were in a fantasy basketball league and you could pick any five NBA players, alive or dead, to be in your starting five, who would you choose?
Forrest : “Oh, that’s good, uh…I would take…Dr. J (Julius Erving), my uncle Bayard (played with the Phoenix Suns) just because he’s my uncle. Then I would probably take Pistol Pete (Maravich), Michael Jordan, and Avery Johnson. It’s a very random five I know (laughs).”
CF.C: What is the funniest thing you’ve ever heard a fan yell during a game?
Forrest : “There was this one game here and I was getting ready to shoot, and somebody from our crowd said ‘Don’t shoot Forrest’ (a la the movie Forrest Gump), so that was kinda funny.”
CF.C: What’s your favorite movie?
Forrest : “My favorite movie would probably have to be ‘Dumb and Dumber’ because it’s just a classic , hilarious movie.”
CF.C: If someone who had never been to Pullman came to visit you and you could only take them one place, would you take them to Ferdinand’s or Cougar Land?
Forrest : “Ferdinand’s, cause they have such good ice cream.”
CF.C What’s your favorite flavor?
Forrest : “I like the boysenberry -- boysenberry shakes or the boysenberry ice cream.”
CF.C: What’s our all-time most memorable Halloween costume?
Forrest : “My most memorable Halloween costume, probably the Jolly Green giant.”
CF.C: Any special significance behind it?
Forrest : “Actually it was the one my grandpa used to wear, then my dad, and then me. We all wore the same one, so it was kind of a family tradition.”
CF.C: When you were a little kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Forrest :“When I was growing up I always wanted to be in the NBA, but as I got a little bit older I always wanted to be a (home) builder.”
CF.C: If a movie was made about you, who would you want to play you?
FORREST HAS PLAYED IN 81 GAMES, STARTING 5 OF THEM, SINCE COMING TO PULLMAN IN 2005-06.
Forrest : “I would probably want Will Ferrell (to play me), just because he’s kinda goofy, I’m kinda goofy, and he could probably play my role better than anyone else because he’s good at being socially awkward and think I’m socially awkward (laughs).”
CF.C: If you could have a song played when you entered the game what song would you choose?
Forrest : “Probably Jukebox Hero (by Foreigner) because it’s a story about a person who wasn’t the most talented or anything but ended up playing on the big stage. It’s described as a rock band, but I think that adequately describes me as a player.”
CF.C: What’s your favorite home-cooked meal?
Forrest : “Oh, flat enchiladas because they were the ones my mom always made for my birthday and whenever else I wanted. So they’ve got to be the ones.”
CF.C: What’s one foreign country you would love to visit?
Forrest : “Hmm…I would probably like to go to Brazil, because they have some bass down there, called Peacock Bass, and apparently they’re the biggest and hardest hitting fish when you fish for them, so I’d want to go visit there.”
CF.C: What’s the most fun thing you’ve ever done with a group of friends?
Caleb Forrest : “Probably when I went cliff jumping down at Lake Powell in Utah. It was pretty fun, going down there and just camping and boating.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Hayden Eller, 15, is a tenth-grader attending the International School of Latvia after moving there with his family from Chelan a year ago. His addiction to crimson and gray started six years ago when he attended his first game at Martin Stadium, a Cougar win over Idaho. His father, Jeff, is a 1985 WSU graduate. Hayden named his dog Butch.
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