There’s no basketball being played these days, but that didn’t stop East Tennessee State coach Steve Forbes from holding court.
Forbes did a video conference with the media Monday and he touched upon numerous subjects, including next year’s schedule, which will include two games against Southeastern Conference opponents and a multi-team event (MTE) that will have the Bucs playing somewhere not in the 50 states.
“I don’t want to today get into specifics,” Forbes said. “I will tell you some generalities. We’re going to start a home-and-home series with a really high level mid-major plus, high-major minus program here in Johnson City next year. We have a neutral site game with an SEC program.
“We’ve been invited to an MTE and in that MTE we’ll play one game against an SEC team and then we’ll go to a destination. Those things are exciting.
“I do think the schedule will be really good.”
With 10 non-conference games already scheduled Forbes says he needs only three more to get it done. He said as the contracts come back, he’ll announce the big games.
“I’m not going to wait to release it all at once,” he said. “I think it’s good for our fans to know and it keeps the momentum going.”
ETSU signed three players last week and all are transfers from Division I teams. The newcomers — forwards Silas Adheke from Northern Kentucky and Ty Brewer from Southeastern Louisiana and guard Jalen Johnson from Tennessee — will join high schooler Paul Smith in the latest class of recruits.
“I really like the guys we signed,” Forbes said. “I really like the guys we have coming back. I think we have nine guys on the team over 6-5. I think we have tremendous length, experience, guys that are really good people. I couldn’t be any happier than I am right now.”
Forbes has one scholarship left and he’s hoping to add a point guard. When asked when that might happen, he said “We’re very close, closer than you can imagine. Then we would be done.”
About an hour later, point guard David Sloan announced he would be transferring from Kansas State.
“We’ve probably never been done before June since I’ve been here and now we’re looking at being done in April,” Forbes said. “I think that makes everybody excited. We haven’t settled either. We’ve really gone after some really good players and have gotten them.”
Adheke and Johnson are graduate transfers so they’re eligible immediately. Brewer has two years left and Sloan has one. They would have to sit out due to NCAA transfer rules.
However, with a move to change those rules gaining momentum, Brewer and Sloan might be able to play right away. The NCAA is discussing allowing players a one-time free transfer. A vote is set for late May.
“A month ago, I would have told you that would pass but not go into effect until the following year,” Forbes said. “That’s not what I’m hearing now from pretty reliable sources. They still have to vote, but I’m feeling pretty strong that the one-time waiver rule is going to go into effect immediately.”
Forbes said the Bucs addressed their major needs with this recruiting class. Replacing inside players Jeromy Rodriguez, Lucas N’Guessan and Joe Hugley was a priority.
“Those inside guys played a lot of minutes,” Forbes said. “They were big, strong guys. We needed to get some length. We’ve got some serious length on the perimeter And on the post, adding Silas Adheke is a guy who’s big, strong, physical. He’s 245 and he’s got three percent body fat. He promises me I’ll never have to ask him to play hard, which you know I like that.”
The Bucs are expected to play one preseason scrimmage and hold a charity game to raise money for a good cause.
Forbes also said he asked Bucs guard Bo Hodges, who is an artist, to design a commemorative poster that would be sold to raise money for charity as well.
“I think that would be something our fans would really like,” Forbes said. “I think that would be a pretty cool thing to have and raise money for charity.”
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
In a lighter moment, when asked what he was doing while staying at home, Forbes rubbed his head.
“I haven’t shaved my head in a while,” he said. “I’m trying to grow my hair back. I want my kids to see me with hair. They don’t know me with hair so I’m really working on that.”