T.J. Cromer, Tevin Glass and Isaac Banks, all members of the Bucs’ 2017 Southern Conference championship team, are spending the week as instructors, and they’re enjoying spending some more time together on the court.
“It’s great to see those guys,” said Forbes, ETSU’s head coach. “They’re great ambassadors for our program. They have a great message, not only to our campers, but to our team. They know what it takes to win, what it takes to be a champion and what it takes to be a pro.
“I’m so proud of all three of them. They all had tremendous seasons overseas.”
The three last played together in the 2017 NCAA Tournament, when the Bucs fell to Florida. They’ve all gone on to professional basketball careers in foreign countries, and all of them experienced success as rookies.
Cromer, a former first-team All-Southern Conference selection, played his first professional season in Bosnia, where he was rookie of the year after averaging 18 points a game.
“It went pretty good,” Cromer said, adding that he adjusted as well as he could to his new culture. “I spent most of my time in the gym and then I’d go home. It really wasn’t too bad.”
Banks played in Manchester England, and averaged 14.2 points and 7 rebounds a game. Both of those numbers were much higher than he averaged in college.
“I adjusted nice,” Banks said. “I had welcoming fans, welcoming teammates and a welcoming coach. It was very nice and it was great competition over there.”
Glass, another former all-conference player, starred in Argentina, where he averaged 18.3 points and 8 rebounds a game.
“It was great, a new experience, a new journey for me,” Glass said. “First time out of the country. It was a good experience.”
Although they spent their basketball seasons all over the world, the three former Bucs are on the same court once again this week and you could tell they still enjoy each other’s company.
“It feels great,” Cromer said. “We created a bond with that championship team. We created a bond for life. Like Coach always tells us, champions are forever. We talk about it all the time. That’s one of those memories that you’ll never forget, winning with a group of guys like that. We had so much fun and accomplished the majority of our goals.”
Whatever the three former Bucs say to the campers carries some extra weight, considering they all have experience in the NCAA Tournament, a place every one of the youngsters at the camp would like to go.
“I know the kids still remember us,” Cromer said. “It wasn’t that long ago that we won the championship.
“It’s also great to come back and see the new guys on the team and kind of give them a living example of seeing how hard you have to work to become a champion. We can give them some pointers on what they need to do.”
Cromer said Forbes’ latest crop of recruits looks impressive.
“I like what I see,” he said. “They came in prepared to work. A lot of them came in with better bodies than we did. We came in looking skinny and scrawny. I’m looking forward to this year.”
Forbes says he loves welcoming his former players back to campus any time he can.
“I’ve said that over and over,” he said. “They work camp, hang out, come over to the house. We swap stories. They bring up things I don’t even remember.”
For Cromer, it was nice to spend some time with Forbes on more equal footing.
“It’s a different conversation now that he’s not my coach any more,” Cromer said. “He’s not yelling at me and our relationship is a lot better.”