I thought I had the Texas Tech roster conundrum figured out, but apparently I don't, as Billy Clyde Gillispie don't care. SF Cameron Forte, a 6'6" small forward or shooting guard from Tempe, Arizona, committed to Texas Tech last week. I guessed earlier in the week that Forte was probably a preferred walk-on, but per the East Valley Tribune, according to Forte, he says he has a scholarship:
It’s been a long wait, but McClintock forward Cameron Forte finally committed to a school on Tuesday. Texas Tech offered him a scholarship, and with only about a month left before school starts, Forte jumped on it. He was planning on bypassing a few lower level scholarship offers to hone his game at La Jolla Prep in San Diego, but liked the opportunity to play with Texas Tech. Forte said he’s happy to finally have a destination. "Man, every day I get people writing me on Facebook, calling me, texting me, asking me where I’m going," Forte said. "Now everybody knows I’m going to Texas Tech, so that’s good." Forte has been a pretty divisive player the past couple years. He put up fantastic high school numbers (Forte was the Tribune’s Player of the Year as a junior and he averaged 36.2 points and 12.7 rebounds as a senior) but his lack of energy on defense and his unconventional shooting motion seemed to keep most of the top colleges away. However, Forte said he received a full ride scholarship offer from Texas Tech, so it will be interesting to see if he can prove the critics wrong at the next level.
I have no idea how this is going to work and who has a scholarship and who doesn't.
The Player Speaks: It was tough to find comments after Forte's commitment, but I don't like to disappoint. AZCentral's Richard Obert talked to Forte's AAU coach, who had this to say about Forte:
"He's a brand new coach, so he's looking for guys who have talent, and obviously Cameron has the talent," Pump N Run coach Jeff de Laveaga said. "He needed someone who can score right away and produce points. Cameron had a great spring. He's grown up a lot this summer, and he's proven that in his excellent play. He was the leader in most of our 29 straight wins. It's a great opportunity for Cameron."
And Forte seems grateful to have found a place to play:
"It seems like I fit in with the program," Forte said. "It's good to finally have it done. Everybody was, 'What is Cameron doing?'
"I just thank God. I feel blessed to be in the situation I'm in."
I usually don't advocate reading comments, but the comments are fairly telling about Forte's game, which is that they don't think he's a Division I player due to his inconsistency, only uses his strong hand (left hand) and isn't a very good shooter.
Forte's commitment was then made official and coach Billy Clyde Gillispie, who had this to say about Forte:
"We are extremely excited to have Cameron be a part of our group," said Gillispie "He has a unique and special set of abilities for scoring the basketball for a player his size. Cameron is also one of the most versatile prospects I have seen. He can play a lot of positions. He plays the game with great emotion. I feel he will be able to fit in well with the other players we have returning and make an immediate impact on our team.
"Coach Gillispie was straight forward and very honest with me," said Forte. "I never felt he was sugarcoating anything. He made it very obvious that he wanted me to go to Texas Tech. I liked that he was honest. I never thought I would play in the Big 12. It is a phenomenal conference. I look forward to the challenge.
More after the jump.
Forte also spoke to LAJ's George Watson and apparently Forte didn't like his scholarship options, was set to attend prep school until Gillispie called:
Forte said he had an offer from the University of Washington for 2012, and for 2011 had offers from Seton Hall, UT-El Paso, Northern Colorado, Fresno State and Houston Baptist. But he said he wasn’t pleased with the coaching style at any of those schools and decided to attend prep school in California in hopes of improving his size and his game.
Offers and Rankings: Rivals is the only site that had some of Forte's additional offers, which include Cal Poly, Hofstra, Fresno State and Seton Hall. Forte had no stars for any of the recruiting services and I couldn't find a profile on the 24/7 website.
Scouting Report: AZCentral's Scott Bordow has a story about Forte from February and he emphasizes again the fact that Forte can only play with his left hand, but has an impressive mid-range game:
When Catalina's pressure started to bother McClintock, it was Forte who brought up the ball. When McClintock needed a sure- thing bucket, it was Forte who posted up down low - always on the left block - and delivered.
Forte isn't a great shooter. He has an unusual delivery on the ball that imparts side spin. But he is - at least on the high school level - a big-time scorer.
He can go end to end with the ball and finish. He has a nice turnaround jumper from about 10 feet. He's terrific on the offensive boards, able to squeeze his lanky frame between defenders. Several times Tuesday he seemed to appear out of nowhere to tip in a missed shot.
And Bordow also talks about Forte's deficiencies:
Forte has holes in his game. He doesn't work particularly hard on the defensive end, and he often loafs up the floor after a change in possession. Also, he's so confident in his ability to beat defenders that he doesn't always make the best judgments. As McClintock's double-digit lead dissipated down the stretch, Coburn asked his players to be patient and hold the ball for good shots, but Forte put up an ill-advised 3 and had two turnovers as he tried to force his way inside.
At this point in the game, you're not going to get a perfect player and you'd expect Gillispie to teach Forte to play some defense, otherwise he won't play at all. He's got holes in his game, but perhaps Gillispie sees a player with some athleticism that knows how to score, which I think is a really underrated ability, but needs to learn to play defense, then I can see Gillispie taking a chance on a player like Forte. And despite Forte's problems, he was still a highly rated player in Tempe, the #2 player in the area prior to the season.