Jake Forrester (right) committed to Indiana after an official visit to Bloomington last weekend. (Photo: Mark Jordan/CoBL)
Tyler Sandora (@tyler_sandora)
When Jake Forrester came to the Westtown School last year from the Kiski School, he held only two offers, from Stony Brook and North Florida.
Between now and then, Forrester has spent countless hours in the gym. Whether it was at Westtown, or while playing for the PSA Cardinals on the Nike’s EYBL circuit, he began to expand his game, and college coaches took notice.
A 2018 recruit, Forrester has since been offered by over 40 college programs, but recently trimmed his list down to five schools: Pittsburgh, Seton Hall, Xavier, Indiana, and Virginia Tech. After visiting Seton Hall two weekends ago, the Harrisburg native took a trip up to Indiana this past weekend, and immediately fell in love with the Bloomington campus.
The 6-foot-9, 210-pound forward announced his commitment to the Indiana Hoosiers Monday night, joining three other 4-star recruits in Archie Miller’s first recruiting class as head coach.
“Indiana’s basketball culture is huge,” Forrester said. “I want to be a part of something with Archie Miller’s first recruiting class. I want to be part of that and build and become one of the best teams in the Big Ten.”
Last season, Indiana finished with a record of 18-16 in Tom Crean’s final year at the helm, failing to make the NCAA tournament for the first time since the 2013-14 season. Nine days later, Archie Miller was hired as the new head coach. Miller, 38, went 139-63 over six seasons as the head coach of Dayton, including four straight trips to the NCAA tournament.
Forrester is the Westtown School’s fifth Division I commitment in two years, joining 2017 graduates Mohamed Bamba (Texas), Brandon Randolph (Arizona), Anthony Ochefu (Stony Brook), and fellow senior Cam Reddish (Duke).
Bamba, a top-5 prospect in the class of 2017, is expected to be a lottery pick in this year’s upcoming NBA Draft. Reddish, a 6-8 guard, was the starting point guard for USA’s U19 team which came in second place in the FIBA U19 world championships in Cairo, Egypt this past summer.
“You turn into a good player if you’re playing against guys like that every day,” Forrester said. “I look up to those guys a lot because I think they turned me into the player I am.”
Forrester spent his freshman and sophomore years at Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg before transferring to The Kiski School, and repeated his sophomore season. After a year at Kiski, Forrester relocated to The Westtown School for his junior year in 2016, and joined a loaded squad which finished with a record of 29-3, capturing the Friends’ Schools League and Pennsylvania Independent Schools (PAISAA) championships.
“I was not the toughest player,” he admitted, “and then I came here and I learned how to knock down shots and how to play hard on defense...and create a high motor.”
With a long wingspan and a quick jump, Forrester often finds himself playing above the rim on both sides of the ball. His jumpshot is still progressing, but at Indiana he will be able to get in the weight room and work on his mechanics in his jumper.
“I just became way more physical and active and everything like that,” he said. “I shoot the ball more and gotten more explosive. I think coming to Westtown has been the best decision for me, so far.”
Forrester joins guards Jerome Hunter, Robert Phinisee, and Damezi Anderson Jr. as Indiana’s 2018 commits. When he arrives on campus in Bloomington next fall, Forrester will join forwards Juwan Morgan, De’Ron Davis, and Hatboro-Horsham product Clifton Moore Jr.
Although there will be depth at the big man position, Forrester is optimistic about a balanced juncture of playing time, and development.
“I hope to come in just as things are about to take a turn for the best,” Forrester said. “[And] put in a lot of work.”