A crowd of media surrounded Atlanta Hawks all-star guard Trae Young as he posed for pictures during the team’s annual media day event. Meanwhile newcomer Trent Forrest wrapped up his photo responsibilities and stood alone away from the flashing media spotlight. A native of Dothan, Alabama, Forrest was taking it all in as a new member of the Atlanta Hawks, a place he is looking forward to playing and making an impact.

“It feels good to be here, it feels like a good fit and opportunity for me,” he told The Atlanta Voice.

Third-year guard and former Florida State star Trent Forrest is on a two-way contract with the Hawks. Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice.

The former Florida State star played in Utah the past two seasons, playing in a career-high 60 games last season. Forrest also set career-high marks in games started (6), points per game (3.3), and minutes per game (12.8). The Jazz lost to Dallas in the first round last season and Forrest did not make an appearance but found playing time during four of the team’s games against Memphis and Los Angeles during the 2020-2021 season. His addition to Hawks adds a veteran to a team getting used to playing in the postseason. “That’s why I sang there,” Forrest said. “I like the coaches, I like my teammates.”

The Hawks perimeter defense took a loss during the offseason after Delon Wright signed a two-year, $16 million free agent contract with the Washington Wizards. Forrest, 6-foot-4, 210 pounds, is a versatile defender and ball handler that can fill in at both guard spots like Wright did last season. On a two-way contract he is even more of a bargain for the Hawks. 

Defense might be how he gets on the floor for Nate McMillan this season. Forrest fully understands what his role will be as a reserve this season. “I feel like they brought in the guys to do that,” said Forrest when asked about helping ramp up the perimeter defense, something that hurt the Hawks at times during the regular season and particularly during their first round loss to Miami. Forrest mentioned fellow newcomer Dejounte Murray as another player that will help in that regard.

His ability to play both guard spots and handle small forward when needed -Florida State players under current head coach Leonard Hamilton usually never the NBA with a high defensive IQ- will help get him on the floor as well. “That was kind of what the coaches were talking to me about [during the offseason],” said Forrest.

Asked what he believes his greatest assets for both the Hawks and College Park Skyhawks will be this season, Forrest said, “My versatility, being able to guard, play multiple positions.”

‘It’s a blessing to just get an opportunity to play in the NBA’

Rookie guard Tyrese Martin is just happy to be playing on the NBA level. After having a strong NBA Summer League, Martin, a second round draft pick the year, is on the roster and proud of it. “It’s a blessing to just get an opportunity to play in the NBA,” he said during a break in his media day responsibilities. 

Minutes later he would be called over by a Hawks staffer to film a video greeting on her cellphone. “I plan on making the most of this situation,” said Martin. The Alllentown, Pennsylvania native started his college career at Rhode Island before transferring to UCONN and starring for the Huskies for the past two seasons. 

Martin will have to fight for minutes with veteran guards Bogdan and Justin Holiday as reserve shooting guards. Bogdanovic’s season turned around after he started coming off of the bench last season. “I think I can learn from these players, compete and contribute to the team,” Martin said.

Starting his NBA season on a team with plenty of veterans at his position, playoff aspirations and low expectations is a good spot to be in. Martin recognizes that. “I definitely could be in a worse situation,” he joked. 

Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Donnell began his career covering sports and news in Atlanta nearly two decades ago. Since then he has written for Atlanta Business Chronicle, The Southern Cross...