With Florida State’s top three leading scorers leaving early to try to make a living in the NBA, youth will be aplenty on the court for the Seminoles during the 2017-18 season.
Jonathan Isaac was the prize of head coach Leonard Hamilton’s 2016 recruiting class. The lanky 6-10 forward didn’t disappoint, going on to be selected sixth overall by the Orlando Magic in last month’s draft. The player from that class that projects to provide the most long-term dividends however is guard Trent Forrest.
With Isaac, Dwayne Bacon and Xavier Rathan-Mayes leaving early, a heavy portion of the burden looks to be on the sophomore from Chipley. Though he was limited to just more than 15 minutes per game, Forrest had a solid freshman season.
Forrest quietly has the ability to fill up the box score. Last season, Forrest averaged nearly five points, three rebounds and two assists while shooting better than 47 percent from the field. Despite his minutes being limited, Forrest led the team in steals.
The addition of five-star guard M.J. Walker should soften what Forrest will be asked to shoulder this upcoming season. In fact, if one wants to look back at this past season, Forrest could be seen as a smaller version of Isaac to Walker’s Bacon in terms of impact.
While Forrest is certainly capable of having big offensive games, he likely won’t have to put up massive scoring numbers to help his team. With the said, it’s still very possible that the sophomore averages in double digits scoring.
Entering the 2017-18 season, Forrest is probably FSU’s best on-the-ball defender. At 6-5 and nearly 215 pounds, Forrest is big enough to play the small forward position if he has to, but also handles the ball well enough to run the point for short spurts.
Trent Forrest should also be one of the more improved players for Florida State this upcoming season. In addition to being a superb defensive player, Forrest is unselfish, has good vision, knows when to push the basketball and has a better shooting stroke than his 13 percent mark from three-point land would indicate.
Though Forrest’s numbers weren’t eye-popping a season ago, the Seminoles were clearly better with him on the floor. When Forrest played at least 20 minutes a season ago, FSU was 8-0 and that wasn’t a result of mop-up duty. That included in hard-fought wins over Florida, Virginia and Clemson.
After missing out on the NCAA Tournament for four straight years, the Seminoles finally got back this past season, finishing 26-9 – one win shy of a school-record. Repeating that success is probably a pipe dream for this upcoming campaign, but Florida State is realistically good enough to return to the dance. If that happens, Trent Forrest will be a big reason why.