Welcome to The Sports Bank’s second annual college basketball season preview series. Last year we looked at 99 teams in 99 days. This year, we are being slightly more aggressive and expanding to 111 teams in 111 days. We will rank the 74 power conference teams and top 37 mid-majors in reverse power ranking order. We’ll break down rosters, non-conference schedules, and pick a player to watch for each team.
Last season was supposed to horrific for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and it was as they were only victorious in one ACC game. Don’t expect a major turnaround this season especially since Wake loses a couple of key contributors due to off-the-court issues.
WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
Last Season: 12th, 1-15 in ACC, 8-24 overall
Predicted ACC Finish: 11th
Projected Depth Chart
C: Carson Desrosiers (So)/Ty Walker (Sr)
PF: Nikita Mescheriakov (Sr)/Daniel Green (Fr)
SF: Travis McKie (So)
SG: Tony Chennault (So)/Chase Fischer (Fr)
PG: C.J. Harris (Jr)/Anthony Fields (Fr)
Gone: SG-Gary Clark, PF-Ari Stewart (transfer-USC), SG- J.T. Terrell (dismissed), PF-Melvin Tabb (dismissed)
Jeff Bzdelik inherited a major re-loading project in his first year at Wake Forest, having to replace several key seniors, Al-Farouq Aminu who left early for the NBA, and the troubled Tony Woods. With an extremely young team, the Demon Deacons only managed to win one ACC game and ending the year on a ten-game losing skid.
The brightest light in an otherwise dismal season came from freshman small forward Travis McKie who led the team in scoring and rebounding. Fellow freshman J.T. Terrell had a solid first season at Wake and was supposed to play heavy minutes in the backcourt along with returning starting point guard, C.J. Harris. However, Terrell will not return after being arrested on charges for DWI.
That void will likely be filled by sophomore Tony Chennault who missed half of last season due to a broken foot. It will also require a pair of freshmen to be immediate contributors off the bench. Freshman Chase Fischer gives the Demon Deacons a solid shooter while Anthony Fields will see minutes at the point.
The frontcourt must replace starting power forward Ari Stewart who chose to transfer to USC. Seven-foot sophomore Carson Desrosiers showed progress throughout his freshman campaign and should be more effective as he adds strength throughout the off-season. Nikita Mescheriakov became eligible after the first semester and could end up as the starting power forward. That combination does not give the Demon Deacons a lot of muscle inside, but both guys are capable of stepping out on the perimeter and knocking down jump shots.
Frontcourt depth will be an issue since expected back-ups Ty Walker and Melvin Tabb have also been involved in off-the-court issues. Tabb has been dismissed from the team stemming from an incident in which he broke into a classmate’s room and stole an iPod. Back-up center Ty Walker violated the student conduct code and is suspended for the first semester. That leaves 6-10 freshman Daniel Green as the only reserve post player.
There is skill on the roster but not a whole lot of proven depth due to the rash of off-the-court incidents that have plagued the program. This will be another painful season but the future is looking up as Bzdelik has already received three verbal commitments from top-100 recruits for the 2012 class.
Player to Watch: Travis McKie
McKie might have been one of the more under-hyped freshman of the 2010-2011 season. He earned an invite to workout with the USA U-19 team this summer although he did not make the final roster that played in Latvia. McKie’s length, athleticism, and ability to rebound the basketball are his biggest assets. If he can become a more consistent outside shooter, the 6-7 sophomore could have a breakout season and help Wake Forest surprise some people.
Key Non-Conference Games:
11/24 vs. Dayton (Old Spice Classic)
11/25 vs. Arizona State/Fairfield (Old Spice Classic)
11/27 vs. Minnesota/DePaul/Texas Tech/Indiana State (Old Spice Classic)
11/30 at Nebraska (Big Ten/ACC Challenge)
12/3 vs. Richmond
12/10 at Seton Hall
12/29 vs. Yale
OTHER 111 IN 111′S:
#92 Oregon State Beavers
#93 Washington State Cougars
#94 Iowa Hawkeyes
#95 Ole Miss Rebels
#96 Nebraka Cornhuskers
#97 Oklahoma Sooners
#98 South Florida Bulls
#99 LSU Tigers
#100 Colorado Buffaloes
#101 DePaul Blue Demons
#102 Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets
#103 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
#104 Seton Hall Pirates
#105 Providence Friars
#106 Auburn Tigers
#107 South Carolina Gamecocks
#108 Texas Tech Red Raiders
#109 Penn State Nittany Lions
#110 Boston College Eagles
#111 Utah Utes
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 fomer 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 on the web.
You can follow him on Twitter at DavidKay_TSB.