Temple University sophomore forward Jake Forrester was ineligible to play to start the season. Now, he’s found himself in the starting lineup less than a month after he was cleared to play.
Since the NCAA approved his transfer waiver on Nov. 26, 2019, Forrester has averaged 7.9 points and 18.4 minutes in 10 games this season.
Forrester transferred to Temple after playing at Indiana University last season. Forrester averaged 2.1 points and 4.3 minutes per game in just 13 games with the Hoosiers. Forrester scored a season-high eight points in seven minutes against the University of Central Arkansas on Dec. 19, 2018.
“I worked really hard in practice for this,” Forrester said. “I was working like I was gonna play so it was great to have all my work out there and be able to play.”
Forrester found out his waiver was approved after receiving a phone call from coach Aaron McKie two days before Temple’s first game in the Orlando Invitational against the University of Maryland on Nov. 28, 2019.
In his first game with Temple, Forrester played 12 minutes and scored six points off the bench in a 76-69 loss against Maryland. The Terrapins were ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press Top 25 poll at the time of the match.
In Temple’s 108-61 win against St. Joseph’s on Dec. 10, 2019, Forrester scored a career-high 17 points while shooting 8-of-8 from the field.
“[Forrester is] just getting better and better every single day,” said junior guard Nate Pierre-Louis after the St. Joseph’s game. “I feel like he’s gonna get better and better more and the more he plays experience-wise. He runs. He’s athletic. He’s really energetic. He helps us on the defensive end and the offensive end.”
After playing a career-high 25 minutes against the University of Miami on Dec. 17, 2019, Forrester made his first collegiate start on Dec. 21, 2019 against Rider University.
Forrester scored 14 points and shot 7-of-9 from the field in 21 minutes of action in a 78-66 win against the Broncs. Forrester has started all but one game since then.
“I wanna try to extract more out of him if possible,” McKie said after the Rider game. “We gotta make sure we continue to push him and keep trying to squeeze as much as I can out of him and get him in tip-top game shape.”
Forrester has also improved in his field goal percentage from last season. After making 54.5 percent of his shots from the field with Indiana last season, Forrester has made 60.7 percent of shots this season.
“He has so much more room to grow as a basketball player,” McKie said. “We can move in on the inside. He’s a pretty good shooter. At some point in his career here, we wanna be able to stretch him out a little bit more.”
Even though Forrester has solidified himself as a low post player, he feels like he can improve on his outside shooting, he said.
“That’s been a part of my game but I feel like I perfected it more since I got here,” Forrester said. “I’ve been working around the block all of practice every day.”
While he feels his role at Indiana could have been more substantial, Forrester said he is focused on playing in the present with his Temple teammates.
“Most definitely I think my role could’ve been way bigger there, but that’s in the past and that’s not here or there,” Forrester said. “I’m here now.”