14-15 – Forbes came in as an immediately eligible hardship waiver transfer from Cleveland State, where he’d had a fine first two seasons for the Vikings as a primary guy in their offensive attack. At MSU, the role was always going to be a little bit different but still definitely significant, bringing his strength as a perimeter shooter to the equation for a team which needed another guy with proficiency outside the arc.
Bryn more or less lived up to his billing as a jumpshooter, though I think it’s fair to say that he was more of a feast or famine type guy than a steady, consistent contributor in that area. He shot 43% from deep on the season but for every Notre Dame (4-4 on threes) there seemed to be a Texas Southern (1-9). Still, the numbers don’t lie…shoot 43% from out there and you are absolutely a weapon and a player opposing defenses must account for.
The thing is that for much of this season, that’s really all Bryn was bringing to the floor. He struggled mightily on the defensive end, not because he lacked effort (according to his coach, Bryn cares about playing defense) but because he just wasn’t showing a grasp of the concepts. Many don’t realize the mental toll it takes on players to play in MSU’s defensive system. With the near constant switching, attention to detail in defending to “shrink the court,” etc. it requires focus in order to execute. For most of the year, that plus the fact that Bryn is not a plus athlete conspired to make him a negative on that end. However, toward the end of the season, as with so many of his teammates, a light seemed to switch on for him. Bryn didn’t turn into a stopper but he played solid defensive basketball. He was no longer a liability, no longer getting beaten repeatedly, struggling with switches, etc.
Going Forward – Without question, Bryn remains a key part of the rotation heading into next season. While I think there’s still a chance he could start, my guess is he’ll be coming off the bench, likely in a 6th man role. With Harris joining Valentine in the starting lineup, MSU will likely have enough jump shooting with that initial group and Izzo loves having a sniper coming in off his bench. Bryn averaged 26 mpg last season and I wouldn’t be surprised to see that tick down a little bit as MSU’s depth improves, but he should still be well above 20 mpg and serve once again as a prime shooter.
A big area of development for him this offseason would be improving his strength. Bryn doesn’t have to turn into Marvin Clark and he won’t, but he should be capable of making similar strides to the ones Travis Trice made last summer. If Bryn could add 5-10 pounds of good weight, he’ll be better defensively and he’ll be better on his occasional forays to the rim. Last season, I saw a guy who suffered from some of the same physical issues Trice had in the past, but I honestly believe it’s within Bryn’s power to change some of that with a good summer.
I think we’ll see a sounder Forbes defensively, which will allow Izzo to play him without too much concern over that side of the floor. I see him in a similar role to the one he played down the stretch this year for MSU…coming off the bench, providing instant offense from the arc, etc. He’s a very significant weapon to have in the arsenal, no question.