When all is said and done, there’s no doubt that Illawarra captain Oscar Forman will go down as one of the NBL’s all-time great three-point shooters.
The numbers are indisputable. For the record his 861 triples from 2050 attempts gives him a career clip of 42 per cent from long range – two clicks above the magic 40 per cent mark only the best can aspire to.
In Hawks colours the numbers are slightly better with 421 threes from 958 shots giving him a 43.9 per cent success rate from the perimeter. Melbourne star Chris Goulding is nearest rival in that time-frame with 371 threes.
It’s a career success rate that’s enough to put him at the top of the list of players with 700 or more triples, ahead of such names as Darryl Pearce, Brett Maher, CJ Bruton, Ricky Grace and the Hawks own Matt Campbell.
That razor sharp accuracy continues in his 14th NBL season – he’s currently at 43 per cent – but a typically humble Forman plays down his place among the greats.
“Those guys shot tougher shots I think, a lot more off the dribble and crunch shots and they probably had better people guarding them a lot of the time,” Forman said.
“My shots I have to get off quick but it’s something I’m used to it’s a matter of just making them. My role is very clearly defined, I need to come in and shoot them and make them. That’s my job, to make those quick shots to spread the floor and allow the guys to operate inside.
“But you do put the time in so it is nice to see the numbers because it backs up the effort you put in behind it. To be perfectly honest it’s what’s kept me in the league because this is a tough league to stay in.”
While his shooting credentials are not in dispute, what Forman perhaps doesn’t get the credit for is his durability. It’s seen him play 475 of a possible for 476 games since debuting for Adelaide in October 2001 with a trip to Melbourne whilst playing for New Zealand in in 2009 the only blemish on that record.
“And I shouldn’t have missed that game either,” he says with a grin.
“I was playing for the Breakers in New Zealand and perforated an ear drum on a screen from Rolan Roberts. I saw a doctor who told me I couldn’t fly with it so of course I listened to the doctor.
“The next day after the team had already flown out I went for a check-up with another doctor and he said ‘you can fly with that easy, it’d be a bit sore but you’d be right’. Unfortunately that makes it 475 of 476 but I’ve always made a point of looking after my body and having my recovery right.
“Usually if I’ve needed surgeries I’ve lasted to the off-season to have them. I’ve had my niggles in my time but I’ve been pretty lucky with nothing too big.”
It’s an approach that’s seen him play all 199 games the Hawks have played since his arrival in 2010 – part of a 209-game consecutive game streak that’s the longest for active NBL players.
He’ll notch 200 games for the club on Saturday, ironically against the team he debuted for all those years ago, and says Wollongong has never felt more like home.
“I’m proud to have played 200 games for this club,” he said.
“I’m happy I came to this club, it’s an amazing town that’s a real community and that’s the thing I like about it best – probably after the beaches.
“There’s a real feeling of ownership of the Hawks from the community which I think is really special. You walk around and there’s always lot of friendly faces no matter how we’re going.
“I’d love to win a title here just to spend the next few weeks or months just walking around town and having all those conversations.”
It’s connection he hopes will continue when his playing days are finished but, despite recently turning 35, Forman said he’d like to play on next season, though he insists that a matter for another day
“I get asked that question a lot these days, especially with other people in the league retiring,” Forman said.
“I’ve tried to put steps in place for after basketball, as you always do, trying to prepare for it but you never want to get there.
“I will at some stage of course but while ever I still have love for the game and feel I have something to give, and while ever I have the opportunity, I’ll continue to play.
“Right now my body’s holding up well. I still feel like I have something to give and I feel that I can contribute and make the team better.
“Obviously it’ll be an off-season decision but for right now my complete focus is on this team, this season and making sure we can get to play-offs and make some noise when we get there.”
On that front, the Hawks face a crucial clash with league leaders Adelaide at the WEC on Friday in a game that could have huge implications for their end-of-season play-off hopes.
“Our focus is all about Saturday night and getting a win,” Forman said.
“We’re coming off a bad weekend. We worked really hard and put ourselves in a great position and we ruined that in three days.
“Sure we’re still sitting second but we’re back in the pack again and it’s now must-win. Unfortunately that’s the position we’ve put ourselves in but what we’re going to see is how we respond to that.
“We’ve been better this season when we’ve been down and when we’ve been underdogs.
“Whenever we’ve had a cushion or that breathing space we haven’t been as good so what we will see on Saturday is whether we still have the fight in this group to make this run at the finals.”
NBL Career 3P %
- 42.0% - Oscar Forman (861/2050)
- 41.9% - Darryl Pearce (908/2166)
- 40.9% - Brett Maher (1162/2835)
- 40.4% - Jason Smith (869/2151)
- 40.3% - Ricky Grace (960/2381)
- 40.3% - CJ Bruton (1261/3128)
- 40.2% - Mat Campbell (1049/2609)