Deacs rely on newcomers
Entering his third season as Wake Forest’s head basketball coach, Jeff Bzdelik believes he finally has the makings of a complete team.
He certainly enjoys more numbers and better depth. The problem for Bzdelik is most of the numbers and depth are inexperienced. Just how well the old and the new are meshing will be on display tonight when the Demon deacons face Big South member Radford at Joel Coliseum.
Having managed just one ACC victory his in first season and four last year, Bzdelik will try to escape the depths of the ACC standings relying heavily on seven freshmen to go with just four returning scholarship players.
The newcomers are highlighted by senior shooting guard C.J. Harris, who is the ACC’s top returning scorer from last season with a 16.7 points per game average, and junior forward Travis McKie, the confernece’s second-leading returner at 16.1.
In addition to depth, the freshmen give the Deacons help at point guard and more toughness and scoring potential in the post.
Much-heralded Codi Miller-McIntyre, who is known for his strength and ruggedness is expected to start at point guard back by fellow freshman Madison Jones. They are expected to give the Demon Deacons an upgrade at the position over Tony Chennault, who left after last season and had a propensity for trying to score first and pass second
Harris says that Jones might be the surprise.
“He’s very accurate with his passing,” Harris said.
Bzdelik indicated that he could play a small lineup with Miller-McIntrye and Jones in the backcourt. with Harris and McKie on the wings in addition to a big man.
Newcomers who are expected to start in the front court tonight are Tyler Cavanaugh, 6-9 forward from New York, and Arnaud Adala Motto, a stocky 6-6 forward from Cameroon. But the best of the frontcourt men, 6-9 forward Devin Thomas, has been slowed by minor offseason knee surgery. He did score 10 points and grab six rebounds in Wake’s exhibition win Saturday over Rollins.
Bzdelik can also get minutes from 7-0 Andre Washington, who was Miller-McIntyre’s teammate at Hargrave Military Academy, and 6-8 Aaron Roundtree of Wilson.