Is Wake Forest Too Young to Succeed?
The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have the youngest team in the ACC this season. Senior guard C.J. Harris, and junior forward Travis McKie are really the only known players on the roster. They just recently lost a 6’10” sophomore forward in Daniel Green for the season with a torn ACL. McKie and Green are the only post players with any college experience on the roster since their off-season losses of junior center Carson Desrosiers, who transferred to Providence College, forward Nikita Mescheiakov and center Ty Walker, who both graduated last spring.
Now the only experienced big on Wake Forest is McKie. The Demon Deacons also lost junior guard Tony Chennault who transferred to Villanova. Last season Chennault was the team’s third leading scorer. Walker, Desrosiers, and Mescheriakov were Wake’s second, third, and fourth best rebounders behind McKie. Head Coach Jeff Bzdelik was counting on Green to step in and prove himself as a dependable rebounder and post option. Now the only options next to McKie in the paint are 5 freshmen, and an under-sized sophomore who recorded just 1 minute of total playing time in the 2011-12 season.
In total Wake Forest has 10 freshmen out of their 15 roster spots. That is almost unbelievable; one literally does a double take when they look at the details of this roster. The only apparent silver lining at this stage is that their two best players from last season are still on the roster.
In the 2011-12 season Harris logged 16.7 points with 2.5 assist per game. The 6’3” guard is more of a two-guard, but this season he will be expected to run the point often due to the lack of experience on the team. McKie put up 16.1 points and 7 rebounds last season as a 6’7” forward. He is undersized, but has a knack for rebounding.
The return of sophomore guard Chase Fischer will also help the backcourt a bit, but there are a lot of uncertainties with Wake Forest this year. Freshman guard Codi Miller-McIntyre and freshman forward Arnaud Adala Moto will be counted on to produce right away. Miller, another, 6’3” guard, is the top recruit in this Wake Forest freshman class.
Bzdelik is also hoping freshmen forwards Aaron Rountree III, and Tyler Cavanaugh can help off the bench, especially with the lack of size on this team. Freshman Andre Washington is a 7’0” center, and childhood friend of Miller-McIntyre, but he is a work in progress and won’t contribute right away.
Last season Wake Forest finished 10th out of 12 with a 13 win and 18 loss record, and in ACC games they tied for the worst record with 3 other teams at 4-12. If the Demon Deacons don’t improve on last year’s record, Coach Bzdelik’s job is seriously in jeopardy. Yes this team is littered with freshman and can’t be expected to have a great this year, but with two ACC studs on the roster Bzdelik should have put a better team around that core.