Wake Forest Demon Deacons
2021-22 record: 25-10, 13-7 in the ACC
Head Coach: Steve Forbes
Tenure at Wake Forest: Third season
Career coaching record: 327-132
Home court: Lawrence Joel Veterans Memorial Coliseum
Starters: G Daivien Williamson, G Tyree Appleby, F Andrew Carr, F/C Davion Bradford, F Damari Monsanto
Bench: G Jao Ituka, G Robert McCray, G Cameron Hildreth, G Lucas Taylor, F Zach Keller, C Matthew Marsh
Overview: After a disappointing first season with Steve Forbes at the helm in 2020-21, the Demon Deacons appeared to turn things around in 2021-22. Losing only two home games during the entirety of the regular season, Wake Forest’s bet on transfer talent paid off. Junior Jake LaRavia from Indiana State and graduate student Alondes Williams from Oklahoma helped restore some glory to the Wake Forest name, only losing to Duke by a basket in their February 2022 contest.
Now, with LaRavia and Williams having gone to the NBA with two other starters, the Demon Deacons will turn to the experience of graduate student Daivien Williamson. In his senior season, the guard averaged 11.8 points per game and shot 45.1% from the field, making him a staple in the Wake Forest offense. Once again, he will be accompanied by more transfer talent. Graduate student Tyree Appleby comes to the team from Florida, where he averaged 10.9 points per game and made 65 3-pointers as a senior. The Demon Deacons will get versatility on both ends of the court from junior Andrew Carr out of Delaware, who led the Blue Hens in blocks with 37 and shot 56.4% from the floor. The paint will likely be dominated by junior Davion Bradford, the transfer out of Kansas State with crucial experience against tough Big 12 opponents. Redshirt Damari Monsanto from East Tennessee State University rounds out the starting five, where his shooting abilities will complement an already potent offense. However, with so much turnover from the last season and transfers abound, the starters for Wake Forest could easily change.
The Demon Deacons began to prove they were true competitors over the past season, earning wins over North Carolina, Louisville and Florida State. Even in contests they lost, they were rarely blown out of the gym as they managed to keep scores close and keep opponents on their toes. As the team moves into its third season under Forbes, its potential for growth is limitless if it can build a cohesive unit amongst a wealth of talented transfers.
Team ceiling: If the Demon Deacons can capitalize on their success from last year and correctly utilize their transfer talent, they have a chance at making a deep run in the NCAA tournament. With their ability to hang with the best teams in college basketball, they are already on the radar of many of their opponents as a tough contender. If the team is able to mesh, they could break into the postseason for the first time since 2017.
Team floor: Wake Forest has the misfortune of existing in the ACC, where they are forced into confrontation with two basketball powerhouses in North Carolina and Duke. If they can’t make these contests competitive, they will be forced to have a near-perfect run in other conference play. With only one multi-year starter for the Demon Deacons in Williamson, the team could find the odds stacked against them with a lack of cohesion and chemistry on the floor.
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