Welcome to The Sports Bank’s third annual college basketball season preview series. Two years we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. Last year, we were slightly more aggressive and expanded to 111 teams in 111 days and will do so again as we look ahead to the 2012-2013 season.
We will rank the 75 power conference teams and top 36 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, transfers, incoming freshmen, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Since Jeff Bzdelik took over the Wake Forest Demon Deacons basketball program, the team has struggled mightily and seen an influx of players transfer. Last season, Wake did slightly improve upon their one-win debacle in 2010-11 but with seven new faces and only four returners, it’s likely to be another long season in Winston-Salem.
Click here for The Sports Bank’s Wake Forest college football preview.
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
Last Season: T-9th, 13-18 in ACC, 8-24 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 12th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Andre Washington (Fr)
PF: Daniel Green (So)/Devin Thomas (Fr)/Tyler Cavanaugh (Fr)
SF: Travis McKie (Jr)/Aaron Rountree (Fr)/Arnaud Adala Moto (Fr)
SG: Chase Fischer (So)
PG: C.J. Harris (Sr)/Codi Miller-McIntyre (Fr)/Madison Jones (Fr)
Gone: PG-Tony Chennault (transfer-Villanova), C-Carson Desrosiers (transfer-Providence), PG-Anthony Fields (transfer-Bradley), C-Ty Walker, PF-Nikita Mescheriakov
The Demon Deacons were primarily a two-headed monster last year with Travis McKie and C.J. Harris combining to average more than half of the team points. That will be case tenfold this year as seven of the eleven scholarship players on Wake’s roster are freshmen.
McKie is the best player on the team and will probably be a NBA first round pick one day. He has always been gifted in transition and finishing at the basket but really improved his outside shot last season which is a positive sign. With so much youth in the frontcourt, he might see more time playing the four this season. Freshman Aaron Rountree will bring some versatility to the forward position due to his ball-handling and vision as a passer. Arnaud Adala Moto is a high-energy player who doesn’t need to score to impact the game.
Inside is where the Deacons really figure to struggle. They lose two senior contributors and the transfer of Carson Desrosiers hurts even more. That leaves Daniel Green as the only player with college experience and he saw minimal playing time last season.
Freshman Andre Washington will be thrust into the middle as the only true center on the roster. He is far from a finished product and will be a project on the offensive end but will have to use his size and length to contribute right away even though he does possess a whole of physicality. Devin Thomas is an undersized four but plays with a ton of energy and gets after it on the glass. Tyler Cavanaugh is a typical stretch four who has range out to the three-point line. All three freshmen will have to be factors from the opening tip of the season.
Harris will anchor a young backcourt due to the transfers of Tony Chennault and Anthony Fields. Harris was forced to be more of a scoring point guard last season and like McKie, really improved his perimeter shot. He’ll need to continue to get points for Wake to have any chance this season.
Chase Fischer figures to start alongside Harris but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Deacons top recruit, point guard Cody Miller-McIntyre works his way into that spot which would allow Harris to spend more time playing off the ball. Madison Jones might be the odd man out of the guard rotation but provides depth in case of injury.
Player to Watch: Travis McKie
Unlike several other players who have left the struggling Wake program for other schools, McKie has remained a Demon Deacon. He is often overlooked on a national stage because of the poor record Wake has posted the past two years and might be one of the more underrated players in college hoops. The 6’7 Richmond native showed steady progress as a sophomore and if he makes similar strides this year, could be NBA-bound next summer.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/16 vs. UConn (Paradise Jam)
11/18 vs. Iona/Quinnipiac (Paradise Jam)
11/19 vs. New Mexico/UIC/George Mason/Mercer (Paradise Jam)
11/27 vs. Nebraska (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
David Kay is a senior feature NBA Draft, NBA, and college basketball writer for the Sports Bank. He also heads up the NBA and college basketball material at Walter Football.com and is a former contributor at The Washington Times Communities. David has appeared on numerous national radio programs spanning from Cleveland to New Orleans to Honolulu. He also had the most accurate 2011 NBA Mock Draft and the most accurate 2012 NBA Mock Draft on the internet (Yup, repeat champ… #humblebrag.)
You can follow him on Twitter at David_Kmiecik.Follow paulmbanks