2007 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Basketball Preview
Last year, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (15- 16 overall, 5- 11 ACC) did not make a post-season appearance after tying for 10th in the ACC. Dino Gaudio (68- 124 overall in seven years) starts his first season as the Deacons head coach. Gaudio, a long time Wake Forest assistant, replaces Skip Prosser, who died of a heart attack in July. For Gaudio this season is about holding this young and inexperienced team together both on and off the court.
Wake Forest found itself outplayed in just about every area last season. They saw opponents outscore them 76.4 PPG to 73.8 PPG and outshoot them .468 to .455 which contributed to the NCAA point spreads. They were 12th in the ACC in scoring defense and turnovers.
Wake Forest’s top scorer and rebounder, center Kyle Visser (17.0 PPG, 7.4 RPG), is gone and that leaves a big and short hole in the frontcourt. Wake’s starting center will be David Weaver (2.5 PPG, 1.7 RPG, 52.8 FG%). Although athletic, Weaver has seen little playing time and will need to mature and develop quickly. Look for forward Jamie Skeen (7.5 PPG, 4.6 RPG, 43.3 FG%) to kick-up his game a notch or two. Small forward L.D. Williams (8.2 PPG, 4.1 RPG, 47.4 FG%) was an amazing force in his first year—blocking shots, smashing in dunks and hitting from downtown. He should be even better this season.
Sophomore Ishmael Smith (8.7 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 6.0 APG, 42.9 FG%) is a true point guard. He led the conference in assists but also turned the ball over too many times in his first year. Look for the speedy Smith to refine his game this season. The shooting guard position was problematic last season. Shooting guard Harvey Hale (8.4 PPG, 1.9 RPG, 35.5 FG%) proved to be a good defender but a poor shooter. Freshman Gary Clark, a fine shooter, will compete for the starting position.
The last time Wake Forest was in the post- season was 2005. With the death of Prosser and a talented but inexperienced team, Gaudio will have his hands full. Because they don’t have a whole lot of rebounding power, pushing the ball up the court and finding the open man will both be important for this club to succeed in the conference tournaments.