Folsom (Calif.) power forward Mason Forbes isn’t considered one of the nation’s top-100 hoops recruits, but he’s still a star. At 6-foot-8 he’s a classic tweener, a player big enough to dominate the high school ranks but still need more size or the exertion of significant will to become a factor at the next level.
He also has one of the nation’s most abundant and absolutely fabulous heads of hair.
Forbes’ calling card, in addition to ferocious defense on the blocks, is his voluminous afro. He says his parents sometimes pressure him to cut it off. He says no.
And, when considering his collegiate options, with schools like San Diego State, Nevada and even in-state Pac-12 power Stanford considering him, it was a compliment about Forbes’ afro that sold him on traveling across the country to play for the nation’s second-oldest university.
His Afro mushrooms high and wide as he glides downcourt with long strides. It drew eyes during the summer recruiting circuit with college scouts asking, “Who’s the kid with the ’fro?” When Harvard coaches told the Forbes family during recruiting visits that they wanted to promote the hair, Forbes was sold. After all, he doesn’t need more pressure to break out the clippers. “My mom’s always on me about that,” said Forbes, who last trimmed it three months ago before Homecoming.
“The Harvard coaches were great about me being me,” he said. “They said they want to deliver a better person when I’m finished. A better person, a better player – a focus on both paths.”
According to Forbes’ father, former Harlem Globetrotter Sterling Forbes, Mason Forbes had the worst game of his AAU career after he caved to pressure and braided his hair. Five minutes after a rough game he took out the braids and never looked back.
And his high school coach said that the team makes the most of Forbes’ hair now, sometimes in a quite literal sense.
“We measured Mason at 6-9 with shoes on. He’s 7-1 with the hair,” Folsom assistant coach Matt Mills told the Bee.