Year in and year out, Wake Forest has left ACC pundits (especially yours truly) scratching their heads.
They always seem to have talent, yet never seem to put it together.
Last year a 17-16 (6-12 in the ACC) finish finally cost Jeff Bzdelik his job.
Enter one time Kansas final four hero and former NBA All Star Danny Manning. Wake admins really swung for the fences with this hire.
Will it pay immediate dividends?
Only if Manning can get the most of a talented roster featuring Devin Thomas and Codi Miller-McIntyre.
Thomas is one of the more underrated front court players nationally. He has nice moves around the basket and is a very high level rebounder. He hasn't had much help in his two seasons in Winston Salem. 6'9 Campbell transfer Darius Leonard will be available immediately and should take some pressure off Thomas. 7 footer Andre Washington has not played much in his time at Wake, but he is another warm body up front that Manning hopes to get minutes and production from. The Deamon Deacs lost their two best wings, Tyler Cavanaugh and Aurnaud Moto, to transfers. Miles Overton and Aaron Rountree will hope to fill the void. Miller-McIntyre can play both guard spots and outside of Thomas, is WF's best overall player. The combination of Madison Jones and incoming frosh Mitchell Wilbekin (Scottie's younger bro) hope to man the PG spot sufficiently enough to keep Miller-McIntyre off the ball enough to do what he does best, score. Leonard is a nice addition, but this team will essentially go as far as their two stars take them.
F/C Devin Thomas - 6'9 245 Jr.
G Codi Miller-McIntyre 6'3 195 Jr.
F Darius Leonard 6'9 225 - Sr.
What to Expect in 2014-15:
Perhaps Manning is the leader the Deacs need to finally put together a big season? My guess is that although Thomas and Miller-McIntyre play very well most nights, this team is still a few pieces away from the top half of the ACC. If they find a consistent third scorer and get good play at the point, it still could happen sooner than expected.
How they match-up with the 'Canes:
Huge advantages for UM at the PG (Angel Rodriguez) and wing (Sheldon McClellan) spots. Thomas might give them trouble though. Overall Miami should be the better team top to bottom though.
Stay tuned for more ACC Team previews as we count down to Tip Off