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Folsom High School alum McKenzie Forbes drafted by Los Angeles Sparks

CBS News Live
CBS News Sacramento Live

FOLSOM — A Folsom High School graduate is headed to the WNBA after being selected in the third round of the 2024 draft.

A full-time WNBA roster spot is one of the hardest jobs to get in sports because of the small amount of teams and team sizes. To get on a team means you're one of the best of the best.

Mckenzie Forbes has one of the toughest tests of her career ahead after being drafted by the Los Angeles Sparks, but if you've followed her career, you'd know she's up to it.

"It's an incredible feeling. So many things have to go right," Forbes said.

It was a journey that began at folsom, a road that weaved from Cal to Harvard to USC and now to the WNBA.

"I was sweating. I was nervous," said Sterling Forbes, McKenzie's father. "Very nervous but excited at the same time for her to get the opportunity she's been dreaming about for years and years and years."

It started from a young age.

"Growing up, she played with boys," Sterling said. "She has three brothers so she was going to play with them on a daily basis, but she was playing on boys teams at a young age."

Her mission became even clearer when she became a McDonald's All-American at Folsom.

"She used to make me do dribbling drills until I was tired and wanted to go home," said Sasha Forbes, McKenzie's mother. "She's always been a hooper."

At Cal, she linked up with her head coach, Lindsay Gottlieb, and found a mentor in a guard named Recee Caldwell.

"We talked about this years ago when I was a little freshman who didn't know anything," McKenzie said. "She always told me 'You're a pro and you know it. You just got to keep following the path.' "

When Gottlieb left to coach in the NBA, McKenzie went to Harvard. They met up with Caldwell at her wedding, where she tied the knot with Sacramento Kings star De'Aaron Fox.

"Coach G was there and Coach Deli and people from our Cal family were there," McKenzie said. "I remember even then talking to them like 'When you get this fifth year, I'll be at SC. It's up!' "

McKenzie and Gottlieb reunited at USC where she was a part of the Trojans' run to the Elite 8 this year.

"It definitely is surreal," Forbes said. "That next generation you're inspiring to play or even pick up a basketball in the first place."

Now, she heads to the pros alongside Sacramento greats.

"We had a nice full-circle moment with Danielle Viglione, who is a Sacramento legend and a coach with the Sparks," Sasha Forbes said.

"It makes the game fun, it makes the game exciting, and it's neat when you can walk into the Galen Center and there's 10-12,000 people watching these girls play," Sterling Forbes said.

McKenzie Forbes is now inspiring the next group of Folsom players.

"[I'm] just very humbled and blessed to be one of the few hoopers from Sac to make it all the way," she said.

Forbes said she is hopeful that she'll be able to secure a roster spot and hopes that maybe one day, she'll be able to see a retired jersey in the rafters at Folsom High School.

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