Introductions are really important.
And Steve Forbes just doesn’t get it.
Wake Forest’s new basketball coach is off to a terrible start. The day the school announced that Forbes was going to take over the program, after Danny Manning was fired, the new coach appeared in a video spiking his COVID-19 masks as an attempt to uplift “Demon Nation.”
He looked like a new principal trying to hype up some unenthused high school seniors during a boring assembly.
“I’m here to get this program going. I’m here to get this program right back where it needs to be. This program needs to win in basketball. This program deserves to win in basketball. And this program will win in basketball,” said Forbes during his introductory press conference.
He followed that up by taking a shot at Kentucky, since Lexington served as a potential landing spot for Olivier Sarr, Wake Forest’s best player last season.
“I think the most important thing is, why would you go to Wake for three years, put all that time in to get this prestigious degree, and end up getting your degree at a place like Kentucky?” Forbes, during a radio interview on Tuesday, said he told Sarr.
The next day, the 7-0 center, who averaged 13.7 points, 9.0 rebounds and 1.2 blocks last season, announced that he had committed to Kentucky.
Sometimes you can’t make this stuff up.
What Forbes has yet to grasp is that the majority of the athletes that play big-time college basketball put more of an emphasis on winning and getting to the next level than “prestigious degrees.” The ACC that Forbes will be coaching in is a different world than the Southern Conference he came from, as he amassed a 130-43 record in five seasons at East Tennessee State. Making it to the tournament is the dream there, while winning it is all that matters in the ACC, as the conference has won eight national championships since 2000.
And there’s also the fact that since 2009, only four players from Wake Forest’s program have been drafted, compared to the 29 first-round picks that Kentucky has produced in the same timeframe.
“That’s no disrespect to Kentucky, because I obviously respect them,” Forbes said in his radio interview. “I just think there’s a lot to be said for putting all that work in academically and not being able to finish what you started. I know those things are all important to [Sarr]. He said that. So, we’ll see. We’ll keep trying, we’ll keep plugging. We’ve got a lot of really good teams recruiting him.”
Sarr will finish what he started at Kentucky, a school that will give him a “prestigious degree” from the 132nd ranked national university, and a chance to make it to the pros.
And that’s an opportunity that Forbes, and his new program, can’t compete with.