Trent Forbes is where he is today because of sports – specifically playing college basketball for the Providence Friars.
Now 51 and still hooping it up as part of weekly 2-on-2 games, the humble, down-to-earth Forbes continues to keep two feet firmly in the world of sports. One foot is dedicated to older daughter Tatum and the other reserved for younger daughter Tyla.
Common threads tie this particular father and his girls to each other.
Trent competed in the Big East Conference; a badge of honor affording him the credibility and authority to pass nuggets of knowledge to his immediate family. The business of recruiting has undergone a number of changes from when Trent was an up-and-comer during the late 1980s.
As it relates to Tatum and Tyla, the true value of sports still applies in today’s culture.
“Basketball opened up so many doors for me. It got me an education. It brought me around the world. I just want that same opportunity for my kids whether it be through basketball or cross-country. Just so long as they are active and doing something,” said the elder Forbes while Tyla was practicing nearby with the St. Raphael Academy cross-country team.
Hailing from Roxbury, Mass., Forbes arrived on the PC campus in the fall of 1989. He was a 6-foot-1 guard who in his own words was shy and innocent. The rough-and-tumble Big East was fully prepared to provide an eye-opener on survival on the hardwood.
“I was 155 pounds,” said Forbes, kidding that he should have gone to an ACC school based on his build.
Over the course of his four years in a Friar uniform, Forbes was part of one team that qualified for the NCAA Tournament. He ended up taking the court at well-known basketball cathedrals like the Carrier Dome in Syracuse and Madison Square Garden. All told, he appeared in 102 games with Providence with his best season coming in 1992. That year, as a junior, Forbes averaged a career-best 8.8 ppg.
“I went in there a boy and came out a man. There was the responsibility of having to juggle the classroom and making sure I was practicing and playing well. Then there’s the social aspect. I definitely grew a lot and made a ton of memories,” said Forbes.
The post-Friar days saw Forbes head overseas to play professionally. Starting with the 1993-94 season and continuing for two straight years after that, Forbes followed the bouncing ball in England, Ireland, and Russia.
One summer, between his European basketball adventures Forbes began thinking long and hard about his future. Collecting paychecks as a result of running the offense and swishing jumpers wasn’t going to last forever. It was time to start thinking about a post-hoops future that would include settling down.
“I was debating about whether to get a job and ended up meeting my wife (Bernadette). A couple of years later, we got married,” said Forbes. “She’s originally from the Bronx but grew up [in Rhode Island]. I thought it would be much easier to start a family and buy a home here as opposed to Boston.”
Years later, Forbes’ mission to make sure his daughters are able to come from a position of strength when experiencing all that sports has to offer them is central to his being.
“They see the value in that … use your body to further your education,” said Forbes, whose full-time job is working as the Dean of Students at the Joseph Lee School located in Boston.
High school sophomore Tyla adds , “He wants us to play sports so we can have a better opportunity.”
Naturally, Tatum and Tyla picked up their dad’s passion for the roundball. During her career at St. Raphael, Tatum’s specialty was turning defense into easy offense. She wasn’t the tallest guard, yet she was pesky. Last season as a junior, Tatum started to emerge as a serious offensive threat, averaging 10 points and four assists for an SRA squad that went 15-2.
“The one thing I always tell people about Tatum is that she won’t be scared of the moment,” said Trent Forbes. “She’s fearless and doesn’t back down from anyone.”
During the summer, the decision was made for Tatum to leave St. Raphael and reclassify as member of the Class of 2022, giving her two years at St. Mark’s School, located in Southborough, Mass.
“If it wasn’t for her basketball skills … it’s unfortunate but she would have never been able to sniff the campuses of those types of places,” said Papa Forbes, his words illustrating why sports holds the potential to open so many doors.
In Tyla’s case, she opted to expand her love of sports. She began running cross-country in middle school. It wasn’t until she arrived at St. Raphael and started working with Chris Magill, the school’s head coach in all things running, that Tyla’s outlook changed for the better. This fall Tyla has emerged as the Lady Saints’ No. 2 scorer behind senior Rachael Mongeau, a two-time First Team All-Stater who plans to continue running at New Jersey’s Monmouth College.
“I started to love running more than basketball and started to be more passionate about it,” said Tyla Forbes. “My family is known for basketball, but I’m finding my own path through cross-country. Coach Magill really helps and guides me because my dad doesn’t know much about running. He helped a lot with basketball.”
Similar to the vast improvement Tatum displayed on the court this past summer, Trent Forbes has seen his youngest daughter make significant strides in the world of running.
“It’s much different because I see Tyla twice during the race,” said Trent. “It’s fun seeing her improvement and seeing her participate in something that she loves working at and is dedicated to. That’s the biggest thing.”
It’s a dedication that’s fueled by a father who is living proof of what can happen when sports works out in your favor based on what you put into it.