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Michigan State Spartans Season in Review: Bryn Forbes

This is the fifth post of my Season in Review series where I will analyze each MSU player’s season and give each a grade based on (my) preseason expectations

Mark Konezny-USA TODAY Sports

Bryn Forbes transferred in to MSU during the summer of 2014 after spending his first two years at Cleveland State. Due to a hardship waiver he was granted, he was allowed to play immediately for the Spartans. Forbes played an important role as a reliable shooter that could space the floor and help fill the shooting void that Kenny Kaminski left when he was dismissed. While Forbes came in as an offensive player, he seemed to be third on the depth chart at shooting guard until injuries to Javon Bess and Alvin Ellis sidelined them. However, while he did moved in and out of the lineup, he was easily a top 5 player in terms of importance and you could definitely make the argument for 4th most important.

The Comparisons

Using this player comparison tool created by MGoBlog’s Alex Cook, these are the B1G players with the highest similarity scores (dates back to 2008):

Similar to how Matt Costello predictably played like a big man, Forbes predictably plays like an efficient, somewhat low-usage shooter. All of them have an above-average ORtg, TS%, and FT%, but below-average Poss%, TR%, and Blk%. If I would’ve shown the top 16, Hulls would’ve shown up two more times. Not a whole lot to see here.

The Good

Forbes was a great shooter and ended up 5th in the B1G in true shooting percentage behind 3 members of the 1st team All-B1G team. Unfortunately, two of his biggest games came in losses (combined 39 points @Notre Dame and @Wisconsin) and consequentially didn’t really get the praise they deserved. One of his biggest games though was against Louisville scoring 14 points with one of those being an enormous shot in the beginning of overtime to set the tone for how that period would go. His defense did improve and he was rewarded by being 4th on the team in minutes only behind MSU’s big three.

The Bad

While Forbes was efficient when he did have the ball, he couldn’t create all that much for himself which led to a very low usage of 14.4%. Per hoop-math, 95.7% of his 3’s were assisted which is an extremely high number. One of the highlights of his season was shooting 7-7 against Notre Dame for 18 points including 4-4 from deep. The issue, however, is that he either won’t or can’t assert himself to take more shots as five of those shots came in the first half and the last one was taken with nine minutes left in the second half. He did a great job of buying into his role as a spot-up shooter but he was so one-dimensional as he provided little else outside of that. His defense often left something to be desired and although he did improve throughout the year, he still wasn’t particularly good.


Forbes did a great job as a role player. The threat of him shooting an open shot had an (usually) intangible effect on the team. However, one time that it showed itself in a quantifiable way was during the Oklahoma game where the Sooners all but ignored Tum Tum on the offensive end. Forbes came in and posted a +17 in plus-minus (grain of salt with plus-minus) with the next highest member at +8, and Tum Tum was at -15. Over the whole season Forbes attempted twice as many 3 pointers as he did 2 pointers and shot well from the charity stripe in limited attempts. Something to watch for in the upcoming season is whether or not Forbes along with his new 15 pounds of muscle can assert himself more on the offensive end and be something more than a spot-up shooter. Izzo singled out Forbes as one of the more improved players and it’ll be really interesting to see if Forbes can make a push to be a starter. Whether or not he starts ultimately matter all that much as I would expect him to finish games and average more minutes than Tum Tum.

Grade B

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