Folsom’s McKenzie Forbes talks about ‘surreal’ opportunities ahead
McKenzie Forbes lives for this: a ball in her hand, surveying the floor, making plays, smiling on the way back down the court.
The 6-foot Folsom High School senior guard was the region's most complete player and the most entertaining. She led the area's top-ranked squad into the Northern California Open Division playoffs – a regional first – and was the easy pick as The Bee's Girls Basketball Player of the Year.
Forbes said she feels an obligation to "grow the girls game." She did her part, elevating a Folsom program that was in decline, when she arrived as a freshman on varsity, punctuated by a 27-5 record this season. The Cal-bound five-star recruit averaged 19.2 points, 6.5 rebounds, 5.1 assists, 2.1 steals and 2.2 blocked shots.
"She's crazy good," Folsom coach Lynn Wolking said.
Forbes has only blundered once recently. She was juggling three oranges before the fourth quarter of the recent McDonald's All-American game in Atlanta and dropped one. Otherwise, she's been steady to spectacular with some Magic Johnson to her game, including the one-handed bounce pass on the break.
"I'm definitely proud of what we accomplished as a team and I'm proud of the season I had, too," Forbes said. "I couldn't imagine that the program at Folsom would turn into this, and not just winning and losing, but the whole culture. That's what I'm most proud of."
Forbes said she improved over the years because of one thing in particular.
"Work," she said. "I grew as a player and as a person tremendously. If you'd told me when I was a freshman that I'd turn out like this, I'd be overwhelmed. It shows that hard work pays off."
Forbes said she was delighted to see how popular the girls game has become locally, including big crowds for home games, the rooting section often led by her brother, Mason, the star center on the boys team.
"You can see the area growth and it's exciting," Forbes said. "In the NCAAs, there were so many buzzer-beating shots in the women's games. So many people were talking about it, tweeting about it. It wasn't like that two years ago."
Forbes said she is excited about her next challenge: Cal.
"I'm definitely ready to get going, to try this new journey, this new test," Forbes said. "I know it'll be hard and it'll test me to my limit, but I'm excited."
Forbes has played an exhaustive year-round schedule, including going 55-1 over the summer with the nationally esteemed Cal Stars team that consists of players from across Northern California.
But tired? Only a little bit.
"Basketball can wear out your body, but that comes with it," Forbes said. "Emotionally and mentally and physically, everyone goes through rough patches. But you know what? I love it."