Wednesday, June 30, 2010

ACC basketball preview: Wake Forest

Wake Forest

2009-10 record: 20-11 overall, 9-7 ACC (fifth)

Postseason: NCAA Tournament (1-1, lost to Kentucky)

Projected starting lineup: G Tony Chennault, G C.J. Harris, F Ari Stewart, F Tony Woods, F Carson Derosiers


• Size

In Tony Woods (6-11), Ty Walker (7-foot), Carson Derosiers (6-11) and Melvin Tabb (6-8), the Deacs have plenty of size to go around.

The quality of that size is debatable, but you know what they say, "You can't teach size."

Wake's still waiting for Woods and Walker to meet their potential. It wouldn't be surprising to see Derosiers, a freshman from New Hampshire, be a starter from Day One.

• Sophomore hope

C.J. Harris and Ari Stewart were being groomed as the leaders of this team by former coach Dino Gaudio. Jeff Bzdelik will likely keep Harris and Stewart in prominent roles.

Despite some bumpy patches, particularly at the end of the season, both were productive as freshman and should be better because of that experience.


• Guard play

Harris was a pleasant surprise last season, adding 9.9 points per game as a freshman, but his role is going to change dramatically.

Instead of hitting the occasional outside shot, handling the ball some in the halfcourt set and playing solid defense, he's going to have to be the best guard on the team.

Will he be good enough to be Ish Smith and C.J. Harris? He might have to be because it's possible Tony Chennault's not ready to be a starting ACC point guard (and it's possible that a new coach who didn't recruit Chennault doesn't want him to be a starting ACC point guard).

The other options at guard are limited. Senior Gary Clark is supposed to be a shooter but hasn't been a factor in three seasons. J.T. Terrell's jump shot should help but ballhandling is not exactly his bag.

• Unfamiliarity

You can bet if we (the media and fans) are asking, "Who's Jeff Bzdelik?" than the players are, too. Bzdelik has been in the NBA or out west in the college game for the better part of 20 years. The players recruited Gaudio likely felt some loyalty to him after experiencing the success that they did together in the past three years.

Problem for Bzdelik is this was going to be a transition year for Wake, who lost Al-Farouq Aminu to the NBA draft, a year after losing Jeff Teague and James Johnson, regardless of the coach.

He has been put in a tough spot, albeit with low expectations, for his first season.

Bottom line

Wake lost its best player, a four-year starting point guard and two other starters from an NCAA tournament team that won nine ACC games.

Wake AD Ron Wellman knew this would be a rebuilding year and instead of letting Gaudio burn, he decided to start over with a new coach. That's not a bad premise but he took a risk in hiring a 57-year-old with little connection, at least recruiting-wise, to the region.

Maybe Bzdelik, a coach well-versed in the finer points of the game's strategy from years as a scout in the NBA, can pull a rabbit from his hat. Maybe the freshmen are better than advertised. Maybe Harris and Stewart are ready to be leaders. Maybe Woods and Walker are ready to live up to their prep billing.

Maybe, maybe, maybe. It just sounds a lot like last place to me.

Returning players
G C.J. Harris Soph. 9.9 1.8 1.2
F Ari Stewart Soph. 7.3 3.2 0.3
F Tony Woods Jr. 4.6 3.2 0.1
G Gary Clark Sr. 3.2 0.6 0.2
F Ty Walker Jr. 1.9 1.4 0.1
F Al-Farouq Aminu (NBA) 15.8 10.7 1.3
G Ish Smith 13.2 4.9 6.0
G L.D. Williams 8.7 5.6 1.8
F Chas McFarland 7.2 7.0 0.8
F David Weaver 2.6 2.1 0.2
F Carson Desrosiers Fr. 6-11 225 41
F Travis McKie Fr. 6-6 180 54
G J.T. Terrell Fr. 6-3 175 65
F Melvin Tabb Fr. 6-8 210
G Tony Chennault Fr. 6-1 170
F Nikita Meschcharakou (transfer) Jr. 6-7 215

Recruiting analysis by Dave Telep,

Desrosiers: "This is Bzdelik's kind of guy. Carson's skilled, smart, tall and can stroke it. He'll be tougher inside in time and the offense should be an exact match to his talents. We feel he's a major ACC sleeper who went under-ranked by others."

Terrell: "A volume scorer in high school, Terrell's jump shot will bring back memories of bombers Archie Miller and J.J. Redick (and his range extends beyond both). The biggest transition will come in shot selection where he'll have to dial it back a bit. Wired up to score and athletic to boot, he's the ' X factor.' "

McKie: "It won't take long for him to be a crowd favorite. McKie has the smile, plays with bounce in the lane and spent the last three years worried about his ranking. All that is in the past and he'll be a leader and contributor from the start."

Chennault: "Fresh off a storied high school career, Chennault has the Philly edge to his game. He's going to play and challenge for minutes early especially if he can defend. Frankly, we aren't sure exactly how his game will translate but he's one of those guys that is tough to keep off the court. He's got a winner's background."

-- J.P. Giglio


Anonymous said...

Maybe, maybe, maybe, you are an idiot

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Maybe, Maybe, Maybe??? Maybe you look at the world through blue eyes. The UNC media should really be worried about the academic standards set down recently by the Football Team from Chapel Hill. Not only will Wake beat UNC in football, they will be competitive with UNC in basketball. I understand that UNC is so desperate for advice on how to run a clean program that they are asking for advice from WFU.