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A 6-foot-7 8th-grade girl gets 1st D-I basketball offer in CA
Jayla Forbes is a 6-foot-7 8th-grader who is catching the attention of D-I women’s college basketball teams. (Courtesy of Jayla Forbes’s mom: @sports_mom365/Twitter)

A 6-foot-7 8th-grade girl gets 1st D-I basketball offer in CA

SAN JOSE, Calif. (BVM) – Jayla Forbes, an 8th-grade girls basketball player listed as 6-foot-7, has received her first Division I college hoops offer. 

San José State University Spartans women’s basketball offered Forbes in early May.

To put this middle schooler’s height into perspective, she’s already taller than Aliyah Boston – the No. 1 overall pick from the 2023 WNBA Draft. Additionally, there are only four WNBA players on the 2022-23 rosters who are as tall and/or taller than Forbes (Bernadett Hatar, Han Xu, Teaira McCowan and Brittney Griner). Notably, Forbes herself might still be growing. 

Forbes, 14, won’t graduate high school until the Class of 2027 rolls around. Next year, she’ll attend Thompson High School in Alabama (Class 7A). 

“We are so excited for Jayla receiving her first college offer to play basketball at the next level,” said Marty Smith, the head coach at Thompson High School. “It is amazing to see all of her hard work starting to pay off.”

Forbes plays both power forward and center. According to MaxPreps, she averaged 6.4 points, 0.6 assists, 9.5 rebounds, 0.5 steals and 3.0 blocks per game as an 8th-grader. Highlights of Forbes often show her ability to shoot, touch the rim and block shots (shown below). 

Interestingly enough, she’s already had a taste of success with high school basketball. This past season, she had the opportunity to play up two classes (with high school sophomores). 

Forbes may start racking in more D-I offers pretty soon. After all, she’s followed on Twitter by head women’s college basketball coaches Yolett McPhee-McCuin (Ole Miss), Kristy Curry (Alabama), Kim Barnes Arico (Michigan), Amy Williams (Nebraska), Krista Gerlich (Texas Tech), Nicki Collen (Baylor), as well as associate head coach Karen Blair (Mayland).  

She’s also followed by assistant coaches Raina Harmon (Iowa), Samantha Williams (Tennessee), Ketara Chapel (Auburn), Jennifer Hoover (Kentucky), Itoro Coleman (UNC) and Shay Robinson (Louisville).  

Here are the rules for recruiting that are specific to young basketball players, according to NCSA College Recruiting:  

“If the coach is truly interested in that recruit, they can extend a verbal scholarship offer. A verbal offer is a non-legally binding scholarship offer, and college coaches can extend verbal offers to a recruit of any age. It’s essentially a way for the coach to say, ‘I’m reserving a spot on my team for you.’ However, because verbal offers aren’t legally binding, coaches—and athletes—can back out of them at any point.”

The future looks bright for Forbes, who according to her mom, has been “professionally trained” since she was 6 years old.