Welcome to the Hoos Place 2019 Summer Hoops Refresh, where we review last season and this summer's personnel moves for all 15 ACC programs in alphabetical order. To read program capsules already complete, you can click here. Today we look at the...
Wake Forest Demon Deacons
That one 11-seed NCAA Tournament appearance for Wake Forest in the Danny Manning era was only 3 seasons ago, but it feels like eons. Two straight 4-14 campaigns in the ACC had a lot of Deacons wishing that Manning had a more affordable contract buyout this past spring. But with a lot of roster continuity this year, could the Deacons be set to surprise?
Coach: Danny Manning; 103-122 in 7 seasons overall, 65-93 (24-66) in 5 seasons at Wake Forest.
2017-18 Record: Last season: 11-20 (4-14); ACCT Opening Round (13 seed); No Postseason
ORtg: 104.4 (175 of 353)
DRtg: 105.3 (186 of 353)
ORtg: 93.0 (14 of 15)
DRtg: 112.7 (15 of 15)
G Jamie Lewis (Transferred)
F Jaylen Hoard (Turned Pro)
C Ikenna Smart (Graduated)
8 G, 4.4 mpg, 0.4 ppg, 0.3 apg, 0% 3P%
31 G, 30.2 mpg, 13.1 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 23% 3P%
27 G, 15 mpg, 2.2 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 43% FG%
PG Brandon Childress (SR)
PG Torry Johnson (RS SR)
G/F Sharone Wright Jr (SO)
SF Chaundee Brown (JR)
SF Michael Wynn (SO)
F Isaiah Mucius (SO)
F/C Sunday Okeke (JR)
C Olivier Sarr (JR)
31 G, 36.4 mpg, 14.7 ppg, 4 apg, 37% 3P%
26 G, 21.8 mpg, 5.9 ppg, 1.4 apg, 34% 3P%
31 G, 22.2 mpg, 7.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg, 32% 3P%
31 G, 29 mpg, 11.9 ppg, 4.9 rpg, 32% 3P%
27 G, 6.6 mpg, 1.9 ppg, 0.9 rpg, 23% 3P%
31 G, 21.8 mpg, 6.5 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 24% 3P%
22 G, 6.5 mpg, 1.2 ppg, 2.1 rpg, 25% FG%
25 G, 21.7 mpg, 6.2 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 47% FG%
G Andrien White (RS SR Transfer)
G Jahcobi Neath (3-star FR)
F Ismael Massoud (3-star FR)
PF Ody Oguama (3-star FR)
F/C Tariq Ingraham (3-star FR)
25 G, 27.3 mpg, 15 ppg, 1.2 apg, 32% 3P%
as a RS junior at Charlotte
*Projected starters in bold
2017/18 ACC Opponents:
|Home & Away:||Boston College, Clemson, Duke, NC State, North Carolina, Notre Dame|
|Home Only:||Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia, Virginia Tech|
|Away Only:||Louisville, Miami, Pittsburgh, Syracuse|
No one is paying much attention to the Deacons, given their consecutive 4-14 ACC finishes, but quietly they're returning the vast majority of their roster, with only aspiring one-and-done wing Jaylen Hoard not back from their core rotation. At the point, senior Brandon Childress (as I remind folks every year, yes, this is Randolph's son) comes back for one last campaign after leading the Deacons in minutes, scoring, assists, and 3-point percentage a year ago. On a better team he might be an all-ACC candidate. All told, they bring back 8 players from last year's team, 6 of whom played at least 20 minutes a game. Joining them is plug-and-play Charlotte transfer Andrien White at the 2-guard spot who will hope to take some defensive pressure off of Childress, and a diverse group of four 3-star freshmen. Brown and Mucius at the forward spots are intriguing options as they step into larger roles, and Sarr in the middle was efficient last year.
And yet, something's still not right, is it? This group was, per KenPom, the league's worst team last year, even if it only finished 13th in the standings. It had the ACC's second-worst offense and far and away its worst defense. Offensively they couldn't protect the ball (second worst in turnover percentage) or make their shots efficiently (last in both 2P% and 3P%). Defensively, teams got to the rim on them almost at will, they never generated many turnovers, and gave up open jumpers all season long. Injuries never seemed to be an issue, as no one missed more than a few games. The team this year will have excellent continuity from last season, but how much of those woes are legitimately fixable? They shot 28% from 3 last year, asking them to do much better in one offseason is a lot. And in five years at Wake, Manning's best defenses didn't even crack the top 100 nationally per KenPom, the best finish being the ACC's 10th ranked defense in 2017.
So the end verdict is that while maybe the growth, maturity, and roster stability help this team improve marginally, and maybe they'll fare with a little more consistency against the league's bottom tier teams, maybe even stealing a couple from the mid-tier, they're still likely going to struggle against the more talented and better coached squads. Best case scenario, this team avoids the non-conference embarassments of the last couple years (losses to St Joe's, Houston Baptist, Richmond, and Gardner-Webb last year, and in 2017 to Georgia Southern, Liberty, and Drake), then manage enough ACC wins to make the NIT.