BOZICH | Manuel Forrest humbled as Moore High retires his number - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | Manuel Forrest humbled as Moore High retires his number 30

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Manuel Forrest celebrated with family and friends as Moore High retired his number Tuesday night. Manuel Forrest celebrated with family and friends as Moore High retired his number Tuesday night.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – There is debate about the finest high school basketball player produced in Jefferson County.

You like Wes Unseld. He likes Darrell Griffith. She likes Allan Houston. Plenty to discuss. It’s a great sports talk argument.

There is no debate about which guy scored more points than Unseld, Griffith, Houston or anybody else – Manuel Forrest, Moore High School, Class of 1981, McDonald’s all-American, teammate of Michael Jordan and Patrick Ewing.

Credit Forrest with more than 3,200 points, 1,700 rebounds, two Seventh Region championships and a string of spectacular performances that kept the Moore gymnasium packed on the Outer Loop 35 years ago.

“Every night opposing teams would try to find ways to stop him and every night Manuel would find ways to amaze you,” said Jim Hubbs, a guard who played Forrest on those Moore High teams coached by Tommy Finnegan. "He was triple-teamed everywhere he went.

“He affected games in so many ways because he could do so much more than score.”

Tuesday night you could credit Forrest with one more thing – Moore High School retired his trademark No. 30 in a ceremony that brought Forrest to tears before the Mustangs’ game against Western High School.

Family, friends and former teammates surrounded Forrest on a night when Moore also honored former girl’s star Sharon Morris, by retiring her number, too. Their jerseys will be hung on the wall beneath the scoreboard.

“It’s a feeling that I can’t explain right now,” Forrest said. “It makes me feel special. I always feel that I’m not worth it.

“I just wish Coach Finnegan was here tonight because he’s the man who’s responsible for all this. I couldn’t have dreamed it any better.”

“He’s been talking about this for years,” said Neal Robertson, one of Forrest’s best friends. “I always asked him, ‘Why? You didn’t do anything?’

“I guess the timing is perfect because we won’t worry about what happened yesterday. We worry about today. I’m happy for him. He’s very happy. Very, very happy.”

Forrest was more than happy. He was overwhelmed. He cried when the school called to tell him what the Moore administration had planned. Forrest cried when he shared the news with Robertson and Hubbs.

He cried when he waved his family down from the bleachers to join him on the basketball court for pictures during the ceremony

“This moment is right on top of anything I’ve done because I’m 52 years old,” Forrest said. “Those things seem like so long ago. This is now.

“The numbers that mean the most to me are the won-loss record because we won a lot. Anybody can score 30 and have those numbers but if you don’t win, it doesn’t mean anything.”

“Manuel cared about his team and his teammates,” Hubbs said.

The next push for Forrest should be to reward him with another honor that his performance earned – a spot in the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame. That honor is overdue.

As I said, he’s still the all-time leading scorer in Jefferson County boys’ high school basketball. He played four seasons at the University of Louisville and was part of two teams that played in the NCAA Final Four.

From there, Forrest went to South America, performing at an all-star level for more than a decade in Argentina.

And he isn’t done. Forrest said he scored 25 points in the semifinals and 26 in the finals as he teamed with Robertson to win a championship at a 50-and-over league in Jeffersonville last weekend.

“During the regular season everybody was talking about how I was losing my touch,” Forrest said, with a laugh. “I was just acting like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, saving myself during the regular season for the playoffs.”

Manuel Forrest was not losing his touch. At Moore High School, he never will.

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