Dec. 23, 2004
This is one in a series of profiles on finalists for the John Wooden Cup presented by Athletes for a Better World. The inaugural award will be presented to two distinguished athletes - one collegiate and one professional - that best display character, teamwork and citizenship as determined by the ABW John Wooden Cup Committee. Twelve athletes in both the collegiate and professional categories reached the semifinal round and the trophy will be presented in
By Mallory Carra
Special to CollegeSports.com
School plays a big role in the life of
Throughout his four years with the
Forth's accomplishments at
"I was shocked," he said. "I'm pretty excited, because the award recognizes all the important stuff. It's really prestigious and a lot of people should strive for it."
Forth, who is majoring in inclusive education, balanced basketball with student-teaching a third grade class at Long Branch Elementary School, followed by a sixth grade class at Lincoln Middle School.
"(At) every age level the kids are kind of quirky," he said. "It's a great experience everywhere. It's so easy to get attached to the kids."
He decided to pursue a teaching degree after seeing his autistic younger brother Jeremy, now 12, struggle with sub-par teachers while growing up in East Greenbush, N.Y., two hours from Syracuse.
"Every student has the ability to learn, but a lot of them aren't getting the proper support and care that they need," he said. "I remember when my Mom used to get upset and frustrated every day because my little brother wasn't getting what he needed. I want to be that teacher who gives the kids what they need."
Forth, who won a national championship with the
"They're always cheering me on when I get back [from a game]," Forth said. "They catch on to things real quick and they ask about all the players and a million different things. When I first started at the schools, all the kids were like `Oh my god, Craig Forth is here,' but then it's just Mr. Forth."
He has also been a guest speaker at over 35 local schools in
"The elementary [school] kids are a blast," he said. "They see this 7-foot guy from
"We help them with life skills, teaching them to work hard everyday and how to be a team player," he said. "They learn that you have to devote yourself to basketball and work hard to reach the
"A lot of the professors I've had, they see `Craig Forth, the basketball player,' and I've been trying to break that in the classroom for the past four years," he said. "They think I'm all about basketball. Athletes have a tendency to skip school and the professors frown upon that. When I walk in, they wonder if I'm like that and they find out I'm one of the more devoted students."
"I'm going to take advantage of playing for