Forbes bringing ability to "fill it up"

Cleveland State transfer has shooting ability that Tom Izzo compares to former Spartan Shawn Respert -- but he has work to do on other aspects of his game.

Growing up in Lansing, Bryn Forbes naturally was a fan of nearby Michigan State. He came to games from the time he was eight years old and was a big fan of Mateen Cleaves as the Spartans were among the nation’s best.

He also carried the dream of one day playing on the Breslin Center court and wearing a Michigan State uniform.

”Michigan State has been the team I watch since I was a little kid, forever,” he said. “I’ve always wanted to be one of them.”

Forbes is living that dream these days after transferring to his hometown after spending his first two seasons at Cleveland State. He is eligible right away due to an NCAA waiver and coach Tom Izzo said he can shoot it like former Spartan Shawn Respert – a player from slightly before Forbes’ fandom.

”After two months, even some of the summer, I'm not sure since Shawn Respert I've had a guy that has a prettier shot or a guy that can shoot it more consistently well than him,” Izzo said.

It is lofty praise for Forbes to live up to and he knows it, as Respert is the leading scorer in Michigan State history and shot 45.5 percent from 3-point range. It also comes with a bit of an asterisk, as there are some areas in which Izzo wants to see Forbes improve.

”He knows that he has to get better with the ball,” Izzo said. “He's gotten a lot better with that. He knows he has to get better defensively. He's gotten some better in that.

”We're going to challenge him the next couple weeks because this kid can fill it up, he can really shoot it.”

Forbes also is challenging himself to be better defensively to complement his ability to score the ball, which he said he feels he can do as well as anyone.

”(Defense is) one of my weakest areas, but I have been working on it and I have been getting better,” he said. “I expect to keep getting better.”

As he works to improve – and fights for a spot in the starting line up – Forbes has been dealing with adjusting to a new level, new coach and new system, as well. He spent his first two years at Cleveland State, putting up big numbers in the Horizon League before wanting to transfer to be closer to his family due to a personal situation.

The intensity has been the most noticeable change for Forbes, as well as just day-to-day learning and adjusting.

“In the beginning, I was struggling a little bit to get all the drills and plays, but I’ve learned all those and I’m good with those now,” he said.

Through it all, though, he has one of his best friends to turn to in Michigan State guard Denzel Valentine, with whom Forbes won back-to-back state titles while starring at Lansing Sexton.

”Playing with Zel, nothing’s really changed,” Forbes said. “We’ve still got chemistry, everything. There is nothing like it, playing with one of your best friends and one of your teammates from high school at this level, it’s a good time.”

But for Forbes, just being at Michigan State is a dream come true – but also only a step along the way.

“It feels like I’ve accomplished a goal, but I have other goals,” he said. “I’m only part way there.”

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