2003-01-18 / Sports

Forbes’ Star And Team Shines Bright At Far Rockaway

By Elio Velez

By Elio Velez

Richard ForbesRichard Forbes

The New York City Public Schools have always had outstanding basketball talent to come out from the high schools. In today’s game, the talents of those players are greatly magnified by the newspapers and increasingly radio and television. The blue-chippers are sometimes scouted and recruited before they reach their junior year. Prospects have press conferences on television to announce what university or college they have chosen.

Sometimes though, the good players fall out of the cracks of the public eye for any of a number of reasons. In the case of Richard Forbes from Far Rockaway High School, the most opportune time to showcase his talents has begun to be noticed in his senior year. And most important to him is that the Seahorses are one of the top teams in the entire city.

A soft spoken but confident teenager, Forbes loves the game but did not go through the route of other players by playing in CYO leagues or organized tournaments. He just played the game on the playgrounds.

"I played it, it wasn’t for serious and I never took it seriously. I never went to camps. In my freshman year, I tried out and made it and I said I might as well keep playing.

Because Forbes was a raw talent, he did not play much in his freshman year but he knew that the development of an all around game would definitely make him a starter.


When looking at the top players in the PSAL, the names of future college stars such as Sebastian Telfair of Lincoln and Gary Forbes (no relation) of Benjamin Banneker Academy top the list of many categories. But what is not known or talked about is that Forbes is also prominent in the top of the PSAL leaders.

Forbes leads Queens and the entire PSAL High School in scoring with 31 points a game, second in free throw percentage with almost 90%, and is in the top ten win assists.

Head Coach Philip Stern, in his fifth season, says that Forbes’ outstanding season was just a matter of time. "I have definitely seen a great improvement from Richard from year to year and he is having a great year."

In the second Beach Channel- Far Rockaway matchup on January 9, the 6 foot 170 pound guard showed why he is a great all-around player. Forbes scored 20 points to lead his team but his game high 8 assists also was important to help Far Rockaway win 59-51.

"I realized that I could score more than most guys in the city but I also make sure my team is also involved."

Warren McAllister, the 6’4 senior center, is one of the players who Forbes has played with since freshman year. McAllister is having a good season and Forbes notes that McAllister is one of the players who has helped him in the past 4 years.

"Warren McAllister, we grew up together since the third grade. He pushes me and I push him."

Present and Future Plans

At the present time, Forbes lives with his sister Marlene in Far Rockaway and it’s a stable environment for him. Forbes originally intended to take law classes when he first attended but the school did not offer it until his junior year.

"I wanted to be a lawyer when I was younger. I wasn’t into basketball yet. I stayed with math and got into accounting and I got college credits for it."

With playing basketball and studying accounting, Forbes must choose a college and the offers have increased throughout the year from Division I schools such as Rider Seton Hall, and Wagner. Forbes does admit that to gain more attention from colleges, he must attend the high school all star games and camps such as the ABCD Tournament after the season is completed.

Forbes also knows that he will eventually be switched to point guard at the collegian level.

If it were up to Forbes, his choice would be to attend Seton Hall. Though he didn’t watch much basketball growing up, Forbes did looked up to former starting point guard Oliver Taylor, who played with the NCAA top 25 Seton Hall teams during the P.J. Carliesmo era in the early 1990’s. Taylor also has a local Far Rockaway connection.

"The only person I really look to and play (growing up) is Oliver Taylor, who came from this school to", Forbes said. "He went to Seton Hall and I respect the way he plays and his attitude and everything."

Championship Possibilities?

What Forbes in concentrating on now is this season in where Far Rockaway has a chance to advance far into the playoffs. Last year, they were eliminated after losing to #1 seeded Robeson. They are better this season because experience is also a factor. "We’ve been playing together for three years almost now", says Forbes. "We know how to play together and everybody plays the way we supposed to play, it’s beautiful."

Forbes always wanted to attend Far Rock and wants to win it all. "I want to bring a championship home because it’s where I grew up and put a banner up at the gym’s walls and know that we as a team did it."

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