Tag:Northwest Florida State
Posted on: January 11, 2012 12:46 pm
Edited on: January 11, 2012 12:54 pm
 

Ex-UT assistants now in charge of No. 1 JUCO team

By Gary Parrish

Steve Forbes is one of the Tennessee assistants who lost his job last year.

It was a low point.

A bad time.

But Forbes didn't cave under the weight of the show-cause penalties placed upon he and his colleagues by the NCAA. He didn't disappear from the world of basketball. He instead accepted the head coaching position at Northwest Florida State, hired fellow former Tennessee assistants Jason Shay and Brooks Savage, and now they have a team that's undefeated and ranked No. 1 in the latest National Junior College Athletic Association poll.

"We're having a lot of fun," Forbes told CBSSports.com on Tuesday, one day after his team improved to 17-0 with a 69-56 win at No. 4 Chipola. "Jason, Brooks and I spent a lot of time together at Tennessee, and now we're having a lot of fun coaching together down here."

The Tennessee connection doesn't stop there.

Northwest Florida State's leading scorer is Chris Jones -- a Memphis product whom Forbes initially recruited to Tennessee. Jones signed with the Vols out of high school but did not qualify academically and committed to Northwest Florida State within days of Forbes accepting the job. The 5-foot-9 point guard is now averaging 17 points per game. He's on his way to becoming the National Junior College Player of the Year as a freshman.

"Chris Jones, in my opinion, is the best player in junior college," Forbes said. "UConn, Louisville and Seton Hall are the most recent calls I've received about him, so he'll have good schools to pick from. In my mind, he can play anywhere."

Northwest Florida State's next game is Saturday at Pensacola State.

A win there and the Raiders will be 18-0 and one step closer to an undefeated season.

Yes, Forbes said, that's among the stated goals for this team.

They've talked about it openly and honestly.

"I think it's something you have to address because it's the white elephant in the room," Forbes said. "If you don't talk about it they won't know how to handle it, so we talked about it yesterday when the new poll came out and we were ranked No. 1. I told them to be proud of the ranking and the record, and to embrace it. But I also told them to understand that we're now gonna take everybody's best shot."
Posted on: September 29, 2011 5:57 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 6:07 am
 

Meet Chris Jones -- future JUCO All-American

By Gary Parrish

I wrote a column this week about two of Bruce Pearl's former assistants who are now coaching at a junior college.

(If you haven't read it, it's right here.)

The story focuses on how the lives of Steve Forbes and Jason Shay have changed since they were fired because Pearl was photographed hosting a recruit at his home in violation of NCAA rules, so I didn't really get into the basketball taking place at Northwest Florida State. But it's good basketball. Forbes and Shay have assembled a roster that could compete for a national title and is highlighted by a player who was supposed to be a Tennessee Vol.

"I thought I'd be at Tennessee, but I'm glad I'm here," said Chris Jones, a high-scoring product of Melrose High in Memphis who committed to the Vols in January 2010 but landed in junior college for academic reasons. "I'm glad I'm here because I'm with a group of good guys who are trying to help me get to the next level."

And he'll get there, almost certainly.

Jones is a 5-9 point guard -- strong and explosive and gifted. He was the Most Valuable Player of the Tennessee State Tournament during his final year at Melrose, and it's worth noting that McDonald's All-American Adonis Thomas was also on that team. Put another way, Jones was more important to Melrose's success than the more-heralded Thomas, but Jones never got the same kind of hype in the city because he flourished relatively late and played opposite White Station High's Joe Jackson, a McDonald's All-American who is now a sophomore at Memphis. Josh Pastner chose to recruit Jackson and not Jones for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is that most didn't think Jackson and Jones could play together. They had a pretty intense rivalry in high school, one that Jones used to place a massive chip on his own shoulder.

"Every time somebody says 'Joe,' I get 50 [points]," Jones said. "Whenever somebody would tell me Joe is better than me, I'd give them 50."

That's only a slight exaggeration. And if you're wondering whether Pastner's desire to have Jones be a part of the Memphis program has changed, the answer is yes. The third-year coach spent Monday watching Jones workout at Northwest Florida State. He's a clear target for the Class of 2013.

"I've opened Memphis' eyes," Jones said. "Memphis is beating down the door to get me now."

Lots of other schools are too.
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com