Danny Manning is in his fifth season at Wake Forest, and this Demon Deacons team looks like his worst yet. That is not the sort of program trajectory that anyone in Winston-Salem had been looking for, I’m guessing.
The Deacs were hoping for a rebound season in 2019 that would be fueled by a promising freshman class, but the trouble with youth is that they’re young. Hey, it’s not their fault, they can’t help it.
The bigger problem is Manning, who is simply not capable of delivering improvement in the areas Wake Forest needs to truly turn things around—namely, on the defensive side. Wake Forest has never finished a season ranked higher than 125 in defensive efficiency under Manning and there is no reason to think the Deacs will ever be competent at that end as long as Manning is in Winston-Salem. Kinda puts a damper on any attempts to find long-term optimism.
And when you combine that level of shoddy coaching with a young roster, you get a team that is mostly bad and largely clueless for significant portions of games—a team that is projected to finish just 3-15 in the ACC by KenPom. It’s bad.
|2018||110.9 (72)||50.5 (187)||18.8 (208)||30.5 (116)||28.0 (315)|
|2019||105.3 (139)||47.9 (264)||18.6 (147)||33.6 (42)||44.3 (12)|
Brandon Childress (6-0, 190) — The team may be floundering, but Childress is in the midst of a career-year as a junior and leads the Deacs in scoring. He’s hitting 44.3% of his threes, and he’s done a nice job being more aggressive with the ball and earning more contact.
Chaundee Brown (6-5, 215) — For better or worse, Brown is gonna get his shots up. His high workload and average-ish shooting allow for the occasional jackpot game where Brown carries the offense. And it’ll lead to some 2-10 nights. He’s a career 34.7% three-point shooter and 45.5% two-point shooter.
Sharone Wright (6-5, 180) — Wright is making 53% of his twos but is only 8-33 from beyond the arc. Might be a good idea to pump the brakes on the perimeter attempts, young fella.
Isaiah Mucius (6-8, 190) — Mucius is taking on an above-average workload as a freshman—it wouldn’t be the first or fifth or thousandth time a top-100 kid came in and tried doing too much—and it’s not going well. His FT%/2FG%/3FG% slash line looks like this: 55.6/44.6/31.0. That free throw percentage doesn’t suggest his outside shooting is likely to get much better, if at all.
Jaylen Hoard (6-8, 215) — Hoard has the highest workload on the team, and while he’s had his share of freshman troubles, he’s such a big talent that it’s hard to argue for changing anything about his usage. And he is making over 52% of his twos to go with over 70% of his free throws. The Deacs would like for him to be a more consistent presence, but no one guy is gonna save this season.
Torry Johnson (6-3, 170), Olivier Sarr (7-0, 235), Ikenna Smart (6-10, 245). Johnson is a grad transfer from Northern Arizona who has yet to show much usefulness at the offensive end—he has a 36.6 eFG%, which is bad. Sarr is incredibly prone to fouls and turnovers but rebounds really well at both ends and will block a few shots. Smart, another grad transfer, is only an occasional score-attempterer (but 56% from two!).
|2018||103.0 (130)||51.5 (213)||17.5 (229)||27.7 (131)||39.0 (291)|
|2019||105.0 (215)||52.6 (247)||16.7 (303)||24.6 (32)||38.7 (284)|
The Wake Forest Defense, A Case In Horror, as told by one number: in league play, Wake’s opponents are making 68.1% of their twos. I don’t even know what to say about that.
The Pomeroy Predictor likes NC State by 10.