The point was made right away with Trent Forrest: The kid could score.
Night after night reports would come in from writers and TV broadcasters in the Florida panhandle as Forrest would drop 40- and 50-point games. And remember that a high school basketball game is 32 minutes long.
There was immediate excitement of what Forrest would bring from Chipley, 85 miles northwest of Tallahassee, to the FSU campus in 2016. The guard who scored more than 3,000 points in high school could be an incredible scorer at the college level.
The ability to drive the lane and lay it in or pull up for short jumpers and runners was obvious. But we often overlooked everything else that Forrest could do.
“Everybody on our staff was in love with Trent Forrest since he was an eighth-grader,” FSU assistant coach Charlton Young said. “He was always a winner.”
And that’s it. The first impression of Forrest is the numbers but often everyone overlooked the other things: the all-around game on the basketball court, the well-rounded leader with a smile and charisma.
Now 103 wins in four seasons – more than any other FSU basketball player. And Forrest isn’t done accumulating wins to his total as he still has a Senior Day on Saturday against Boston College as well as the ACC Tournament and NCAA Tournament.
FSU coaches first saw Forrest late in his middle-school years. He was tall for his age with good hand size and it was clear he could play, recalled FSU assistant coach Stan Jones. He first saw Forrest when he was recruiting another Chipley prospect. When he saw Forrest, Jones made notes and said, “We’ll see how he develops.”
Forrest quickly built a reputation at Chipley High and then on the AAU circuit.
“The thing that stood out was not just his ability to score points and lead his team but how he could make all of those guys feel important,” Jones said of Forrest’s interaction with Chipley teammates. “None of those guys showed any jealously toward him of being the man, getting all of the accolades. You realize there is a leadership trait in him and a servant’s heart inside of him. He gets the big picture.”
Forrest got the big picture from the start, which meant his freshman season began with him coming off the bench. But playing time was there, as it always is, regardless of whether Leonard Hamilton starts a player or not. Seminoles are recruited to play, but often heralded freshmen don’t start.
He has scored 1,137 points, 559 rebounds and 224 career steals. He is third only to Delvon Arrington (225) and Charlie Ward (238) on FSU’s all-time steals list. His 454 career assists are top-5 in program history. And he’s among the top 10 in career free-throws made.
And Forrest will score when needed. The dunk against Louisville was a signature moment. Notre Dame learned that late on Wednesday, as he drove the lane and secured the game-winning basket with three seconds to go. Going into Saturday’s game against Boston College, he has also hit double figures in points in nine straight games.
Consistency? Yes, that’s what Forrest gives FSU. But more than the numbers, it’s how he carries himself.
Leonard Hamilton is frequently asked about Forrest and he often says that Forrest is reflective of the “unconquered spirit” that Hamilton is looking for from his players. That’s an intriguing statement but it’s worth mentioning that Hamilton doesn’t heap that kind of praise and those exact words on other players. It’s also more than just words.
Forrest played through his junior season with a sprained toe. He played through a bone bruise in his knee. He was in the hospital to get an IV the night before a home game against Duke early in his career, Jones said. Yet Jones recalls Forrest warming up like normal for the game against the Blue Devils.
Teammates see that. It rubs off in a positive manner. They want to match Forrest’s work ethic and competitive fire.
Forrest has also put in the time in the classroom. With hours of community service at elementary schools and with Hurricane Michael relief. And he’s active with the student-athlete advisory council. Juggling many hats, he has consistently delivered in each setting.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in three and a half years and is working toward a master’s degree in sport management. He is a rare men’s basketball player who has earned an ACC postgraduate scholarship toward his master’s.
Even given the rigorous travel of the spring semesters due to basketball road trips, Forrest has had a 3.0 grade-point average in each semester at FSU.
“Extremely difficult,” said Charlie Hogan, FSU associate director of student-athlete academic services. “Trent has won basically every academic award you can win as a basketball player at Florida State.”
Hogan has worked with student-athletes for 12 years at four schools and considers Forrest to be “one of the most consistent students I’ve ever had.”
Dr. Pamela Perrewe has never had Forrest as a student but is active with athletics as the school’s faculty athletics representative. She has seen Forrest interact with other student-athletes in leadership roles.
“He just does so much beyond playing basketball,” Perrewe said. “He is a great student, he is a good citizen and he is also a good leader, he is part of the SAAC group. He motivated to give back to his teammates as well as the university.
“One of the things that really sets him apart to me is his community service. He’s great with children. He mentors them. And when Hurricane Michael hit the panhandle, he led the charge to help load trucks with water and food to send to our friends down the coast. The things that he does is so over and above what is the minimum of the student-athlete. He screams the epitome of what we love to see in a student-athlete.”
Forrest has another month of college basketball left. After that, professional basketball awaits. It’s likely that Forrest will have a long career ahead of him on the court.
But he will also likely find time for other interests. To continue his work in the community. To work toward the master’s degree in sport management. Who knows where the future will take him, but Forrest has been a winner on the court and will likely find success once he’s done playing ball, too.
“Trent is going to do whatever he wants to do,” Hogan said. “I wouldn’t be shocked if when he is done playing he is not an NBA general manager or college athletic director. That is his passion – sport management.”