Coach Pitino expects big things for this freshman Lobo

Local Sports

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – If you have been to a UNM basketball game this season, you may have noticed number three in cherry and silver actively cheering on his teammates from the sidelines. Sebastian Forsling has been the life of the Lobos bench, but that might not be the case anymore, as coach Pitino plans to get the freshman center more minutes.

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Forsling came to New Mexico from Floda, Sweden, but New Mexico has quickly become his second home. It’s easy to see how much he loves the game and his teammates, and how happy he is to be playing basketball in Albuquerque. “The people are amazing,” says Forsling. “That’s actually one of the reasons why I came here because it’s really a basketball town and you really get treated well. Like I’ve played overseas, I played half a season of professional, and you really didn’t get that treatment over there… It’s just a professional feeling here when you’re around the system and around these guys.”

The freshman has only appeared in five games so far, most notably against the University of Denver. Coach Pitino said the game against DU was a good time to get the center some minutes, and he wants to make it a regular occurrence moving forward. “We do need to move towards him playing at that backup five,” says Pitino. “I told him before the game ‘I’m going to go to you at the backup five’ and I thought he was good. He works so hard. Phenomenal teammate, I mean just amazing. Never has a bad day. So, I thought [Thursday] would be a good opportunity matchup-wise to give him a look, and then as I was watching him, he looked comfortable out there. He is about as easy to root for as you’re going to find.”

Forsling finished the game with seven points and two rebounds in 18 minutes.

During his time in Sweden, Forsling played for the national team at the 2019 FIBA U19 European Championships, as well as the RIG Mark Academy, the number one basketball school in the country. Playing with such elite-level talent from such a young age, he is no stranger to spending time on the bench.

Instead of being frustrated about his lack of minutes, Forsling hypes his teammates up like no other. “For me, I’ve always been that guy,” says Forsling. “My freshman year at high school I always was, because we had a dominant big when I came in. Obviously, it’s the best high school in Sweden so I knew I would sit on the bench, but whenever you get your opportunity take it… So if I give the guys any support when I’m on the bench and hype the crowd up, they’re going to do the same for me when I’m on the court.”

Sebastian is just a dude that you have to respect at the end of the day for how much he loves this game and loves this program and is bought in to win.

Lobo teammate KJ Jenkins

It is also very clear how much Forsling’s teammates love having him around. Any time he checks into a game, his teammates cheer for him. Whenever he scores or has a block, the bench erupts with excitement. “Sebastian is just a dude that you have to respect at the end of the day for how much he loves this game and loves this program and is bought in to win,” says guard KJ Jenkins. “[I don’t think there’s a bigger cheerleader on that bench.] Sebastian is my guy.”

Forsling is still young, playing in only his first season of division one college basketball. However, if his passion for the game translates onto the court, it won’t be long before Sebastian Forsling becomes a household name.

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