99 in 99: #75 Wake Forest Demon Deacons

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Wake Forest basketball

Making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament just was not good enough for Wake Forest administration as they ended up firing their head coach this off-season.  With four starters gone, the Demon Deacons have a year of re-building on their hands.

The Sports Bank’s 99 team college basketball preview in 99 days breaks down the 72 power conference teams and top 27 mid-majors and will lead you right into the opening tip of the season.  Click here if you missed teams #76-#99.

By: David Kay

Wake Forest Demon Deacons (T-5th, 9-7 in ACC, 20-11 overall)

Projected Depth Chart
C: Carson Desrosiers (Fr)/Ty Walker (Jr)/Tony Woods (Jr)
PF: Ari Stewart (So)/Nikita Mescheriakov (Jr)/Melvin Tabb (Fr)
SF: Travis McKie (Fr)
SG: Gary Clark (Sr)/J.T. Terrell (Fr)
PG: C.J. Harris (So)/Tony Chennault (Fr)

Gone: SF- Al-Farouq Aminu, SG- L.D. Williams, C- Chris McFarland, PG- Ishmael Smith, C-David Weaver, SG-Konner Tucker (transfer-Sam Houston State)

Al-Farouq Aminu Wake2010-2011 Outlook:
Nobody was surprised when Al-Farouq Aminu left Wake for NBA, but the same cannot be said of head coach Dino Gaudio getting fired.  Under Gaudio, the Demon Deacons had reached the NCAA Tournament each of the past two years but failed to get past the opening weekend which ultimately led to his dismissal.

Jeff Bzdelik replaces Gaudio after three underwhelming years at Colorado in which the Buffs twice finished last in the Big 12.  Bzdelik faces the challenge of replacing Aminu and three other starters who were four of Wake’s top six scorers last season.

Top returning scorer C.J. Harris figures to take over the point guard responsibilities from Ishmael Smith.  Who will join him in the backcourt is a bit of a question mark and concern.  Like Harris, Ari Stewart had an impressive first season with the Demon Deacons and will have a larger role this season and should be flanked by freshman Travis McKie at the forward spot.  On paper, size will once again be a strength for Wake with 6-11 Tony Woods, 7-0 Ty Walker, and 7-0 Carson Desrosiers.  Georgetown transfer Nikita Mescheriakiov becomes eligible after the first semester and will add even more depth up-front.

Youth will be served for Bzdelik and Wake this season so you can expect plenty of bumps along the road.  But if everything goes according to plan, the re-loading effort should not be a long one at Wake.

Player to Watch: Tony Woods, C
To say Woods has under-achieved in his first two years at Wake Forest is like saying Ryan from The Real World: New Orleans is a bit dramatic.  The highly-recruited 6-11 center has yet to make much of an impression on the floor averaging less than four points and three boards a game during his first two seasons.  NBA scouts and Demon Deacon fans are waiting for him to break out and become a force down low on both ends of the floor.  This is a young Wake team and Woods has to make a major jump as an upperclassmen if the Demon Deacons are going to have any chance of being competitive this year. (UPDATE 9/13: Woods has been suspended indefinitely after being arrested for assaulting his baby’s mama, making his status for the up-coming season in jeopardy.)

Key Non-Conference Games:
11/15 vs. VCU/Winthrop (Pre-Season NIT)
11/24 vs. Tennessee (Pre-Season NIT)
11/25 vs. Villanova/UCLA (Pre-Season NIT)
11/30 vs. Iowa (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)
12/18 at Xavier
12/29 at Richmond
1/2 vs. Gonzaga

Other 99 in 99’s:
#76 Georgia Tech
#77 USC
#78 Oklahoma State
#79 Cal
#80 Oklahoma
#81 Virginia
#82 South Carolina
#83 Indiana
#84 Stanford
#85 Oregon
#86 Penn State
#87 South Florida
#88 Arkansas
#89 Boston College
#90 LSU
#91 Providence
#92 Michigan
#93 Oregon State
#94. Nebraska
#95. Auburn
#96. DePaul
#97. Iowa State
#98. Rutgers
#99. Iowa

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Making it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament just was not good enough for Wake Forest administration as they ended up firing their head coach this off-season. With four starters gone, the Demon Deacons have a year of re-building on their hands.

The Sports Bank’s 99 team college basketball preview in 99 days breaks down the 72 power conference teams and top 27 mid-majors and will lead you right into the opening tip of the season. Click here if you missed teams #77-#99.

Wake Forest (T-5th, 9-7 in ACC, 20-11 overall)

Projected Depth Chart

C: Tony Woods (Jr)/Carson Desrosiers (Fr)/Ty Walker (Jr)

PF: Ari Stewart (So)/Nikita Mescheriakov (Jr)/Melvin Tabb (Fr)

SF: Travis McKie (Fr)

SG: Gary Clark (Sr)/J.T. Terrell (Fr)

PG: C.J. Harris (So)/Tony Chennault (Fr)

Gone: SF- Al-Farouq Aminu, SG- L.D. Williams, C- Chris McFarland, PG- Ishmael Smith, C-David Weaver, SG-Konner Tucker (transfer-)

2010-2011 Outlook:

Nobody was surprised when Al-Farouq Aminu left Wake for NBA, but the same cannot be said of head coach Dino Gaudio getting fired. Under Gaudio, the Demon Deacons had reached the NCAA Tournament each of the past two years but failed to get past the opening weekend which ultimately led to his dismissal.

Jeff Bzdelik replaces Gaudio after three underwhelming years at Colorado in which the Buffs twice finished last in the Big 12. Bzdelik faces the challenge of replacing Aminu and three other starters who were four of Wake’s top six scorers last season.

Top returning scorer C.J. Harris figures to take over the point guard responsibilities from Ishmael Smith. Who will join him in the backcourt is a bit of a question mark and concern. Like Harris, Ari Stewart had an impressive first season with the Demon Deacons and will have a larger role this season and should be flanked by freshman Travis McKie at the forward spot. On paper, size will once again be a strength for Wake with 6-11 Tony Woods, 7-0 Ty Walker, and 7-0 Carson Desrosiers. Georgetown transfer Nikita Mescheriakiov becomes eligible after the first semester and will add even more depth up-front.

Youth will be served for Bzdelik and Wake this season so you can expect plenty of bumps along the road. But if everything goes according to plan, the re-loading effort should not be a long one at Wake.

Player to Watch: Tony Woods, C

To say Woods has under-achieved in his first two years at Wake Forest is like saying Ryan from The Real World: New Orleans is a bit dramatic. The highly-recruited 6-11 center has yet to make much of an impression on the floor averaging less than four points and three boards a game during his first two seasons. NBA scouts and Demon Deacon fans are waiting for him to break out and become a force down low on both ends of the floor. This is a young Wake team and Woods has to make a major jump as an upperclassmen if the Demon Deacons are going to have any chance of being competitive this year.

Key Non-Conference Games:

11/15 vs. VCU/Winthrop (Pre-Season NIT)

11/24 vs. Tennessee (Pre-Season NIT)

11/25 vs. Villanova/UCLA (Pre-Season NIT)

11/30 vs. Iowa (ACC/Big Ten Challenge)

12/18 at Xavier

12/29 at Richmond

1/2 vs. Gonzaga

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