Forrest‌ ‌leads‌ ‌App‌ ‌State‌ ‌men’s‌ ‌basketball‌ ‌into‌ ‌next‌ ‌chapter‌ ‌


Lynette Files

Junior guard Justin Forrest reaches up for a layup during App State’s 68-62 win over East Carolina.

Zack Antrum, Senior Reporter

Since arriving on the hoops scene in 2017, Justin Forrest has added his name to the top of opposing scouting reports across the Sun Belt and the rest of the country.

The junior guard from Decatur, Georgia has emerged as a team leader both on and off the court and is poised for a big 2019-2020 campaign. 

Forrest enjoyed a decorated prep career in which he was a two-time high school state champion before arriving in the High Country. He also played on the AAU circuit where he was coached by his dad, James, who played four years at Georgia Tech.

As a freshman, Forrest wasted no time, scoring 32 points against Iowa State in just his third collegiate game and his first Division 1 opponent. Five days later, Forrest dropped a career-high 36 points on 7-of-12 shooting from beyond the arc against James Madison. 

This wasn’t a case of beginner’s luck either he finished the season second in scoring on the team with 13.5 points per game. 

Forrest reached double figures scoring in 25 out of 30 games as a freshman. 

After a strong debut season, Forrest returned and formed one of the best-scoring backcourts in the Sun Belt alongside former App State guard Ronshad Shabazz.

As a sophomore, Forrest was second on the team in scoring again, posting 16.2 points per game. He also increased his assist total and improved his 3-point shooting percentage. 

Forrest got off to an impressive start to his junior year by putting up 27 points in App State’s season opener against Michigan. Through five games, Forrest leads the team with an average of 21.7 points per game. 

“I elevated my game and stayed in the gym all summer and did everything I had to do,” Forrest said. “I just have to lead these guys to victory and make sure (we) stay on course and handle business.”

Forrest now has an opportunity to lead a team undergoing a big shift with new head coach Dustin Kerns. 

To do this, Forrest said he knows he must be a leader off the court just as much as on the court. 

“Just taking on a leadership role (is important) and trying to get these younger guys going,” Forrest said. “I’m one of the top returners on the team so I just need to help these guys come along.”

In order for coach Kerns and the Mountaineers to end their NCAA tournament drought, they’ll need big minutes and big leadership from Forrest.