CHIPLEY – Chipley High School alumnus and basketball legend Trent Forrest was back in his hometown gym Sunday as the community gathered to pay tribute to not only his success, but the legacy he continues to build for future generations.
Forrest, now an NBA player with the Utah Jazz, was honored at the CHS gym with a presentation that included comments from family, coaches and school staff, as well as the official retirement of his number 11 high school jersey. Forrest’s accomplishments also earned special recognition with official proclamations from Senator George Gainer and Representative Brad Drake.
Forrest, a 2016 CHS graduate, scored 3,103 points during his high school basketball career, including a career-high single game scoring of 53 points in a 76-66 tip-off win against Rutherford High School in 2015 – a day after he signed to play for Florida State University. He played for FSU from 2016 to 2020, during which time he earned the title of the winningest player in FSU history with 104 wins as the school’s starting point guard for the final three seasons of his career. He would go on to sign with the Jazz in 2020.
Forrest was 28 and 3 during his senior year at CHS, averaging 29 points a game – still a school record. Forrest also holds the school’s record as all-time dunk leader.
CHS basketball coach Mike Gates says Forrest’s success on the court began way before his high school years, having helped lead the Roulhac Middle School team to 76 straight victories during his time at RMS.
“He’s a once in two lifetimes sort of player,” said Coach Gates. “But more than that, he’s respectful and humble. And he did all of this while maintaining a 4.3 GPA.”
CHS Principal Alicia Clemmons reiterated Forrest’s dedication to academics, saying he is always willing to speak to current CHS students when they need some encouragement – and a reminder that education is as important as athletics.
But while Forrest is well known for his success on the court and in the classroom, he is arguably even better known for his love of his hometown.
“I’ve watched him play his entire career from high school on,” noted retired educator and longtime athletic supporter Josephine Robinson-Floyd. “He wasn’t about drawing attention to himself. He just played for the team, and that was remarkable. I still watch him with the Utah Jazz, and he never changes. No matter how high he rises, he never changes just because he’s in a bigger role. He always recognizes where he’s from, and he is proud that he is from Chipley.”
Forrest said that pride comes from understanding his roots here helped him grow into what he is today.
“I love being from here and this small town,” he said. “It helped me to become who I am today. You don’t see too many people make it from here, so being from here and knowing the support I get from the community and just how close everybody is here really matters.”
Forrest also counts his family among his role models.
“Growing up, I feel like it was easy to pick professional athletes as role models, so for me, guys like LeBron [James], Michael Jordan – guys like that – I always looked up to just being a fan of basketball,” he added. “But here in Chipley, I looked up to my parents and my brother [Trey Forrest] and the hard work they all put in. I saw it at an early age. My brother never took it easy on me. Growing up, he always made me go work out with him and play one-on-one with him, so that just helped me and seeing how hard he pushed me helped me get to where I am today.”
Forrest says he’s honored to be seen as a role model for the next generation.
“It means a lot,” he said. “I know for myself I had role models I wanted to look up to. Being from here, I know it helps the young kids see they can do it, too. At one point, I was in their shoes.”
Sunday’s event culminated with door prizes, a meet and greet, an autograph signing and free food.
Forrest’s career so far with the Jazz includes a total of 90 career games, resulting in a scoring total of 283 points, shooting 85 percent from the free throw line and accumulating 143 rebounds and 151 assists.