Forde: ‘I know a lot more about myself’
For the past four years, the Wilfrid Laurier men’s basketball team has been anchored by strong focus, character and leadership, and at the centre of that has been Jamar Forde — a defensive backbone, and all around leader of the Hawks who has contributed significantly to their success both in the regular season and playoffs.
The 6’3” guard out of Mississauga, Ont., has enjoyed an impressive career at Laurier, especially his last two years where he averaged over 11 points and four rebounds per game each year.
However, Forde really left his mark on the defensive end of the floor.
“Most importantly, my primary thing for basketball is I play defence very well. I always guard the best player on the other team,” he said.
While his time at Laurier has been filled with memorable moments, Forde also has been susceptible to some tough injuries, which he’s been able to battle through.
Forde feels as if his time here has been an excellent learning and growing process for him.
“Now I know a lot more about myself from just being here and playing on the basketball team. I’ve also met a lot of good friends,” he said.
Forde has suffered through many nagging setbacks here at Laurier including a severe foot injury that sidelined him for some time.
However, he has never let any of that get to him or allow him to lose any of his focus.
“I just try to stay calm and strong while I’m injured. When you play basketball you are always battling injuries…once the game starts, injuries are not an issue. I don’t make injuries an excuse, I just want to win,” he said.
In the 2013-14 year, Forde finished the regular season with 270 points and averaged 12.3 points per game in 22 games.
In his freshman year in 2010-11, he averaged 7.6 points per game.
On the defensive end of the ball, Forde improved dramatically over four years.
In 2010-11, he finished with 3.9 rebounds per game, 18 steals and six blocks. In 2013-14, Forde had 6.7 rebounds per game, 27 steals and 14 blocks.
Forde attributes a lot of this to his teammates, but points most of his success and growth to head coach Peter Campbell. Coach Campbell has made a huge impact on many of the players here at Laurier as they all have nothing but high praise for him, and Forde is no exception.
“It was an amazing experience playing for him, he is an amazing coach, [he is] very experienced … He wants us to be our own man and figure out our own way in life, but also play well as a team and play fundamental basketball,” he explained.
Some of his most memorable moments at Laurier on the basketball team revolve around bonding with his teammates and forming relationships and friendships that he values on and off the court.
“I get to know the players more while we are on the road,” Forde said.
“We get to bond, that is how you get that important team chemistry, you stick together, like a brotherhood. I’ll never forget those memories.”
Coming to Laurier out of high school, Forde took in a lot of knowledge from the veteran team that was already in place four years ago. That team made it to the OUA semifinals.
As he has grown as a person and a player at the school, one of his main focuses has been to do all he can to prepare Laurier’s young core of players as much as he can.
“There are a lot of young guys on the team, I just try to help them be a student-athlete, tell them that they have to balance their school and basketball, bring them to the gym and basically just show them the life of a student-athlete at Laurier,” he said.
Forde will be finishing his last year at Laurier, but is optimistic about his basketball opportunities in the future.
“Right now just I’m focused on academics, but if basketball is still my future, I’ll definitely try to play somewhere,” he said.