2008 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Basketball Preview
Head coach Dino Gaudio has done a lot in one season to improve the lot of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (17- 13 overall, 7-9 ACC). In 2007- 2008, he managed to eek out two more ACC wins than the Demon Deacons had the year before, and this season he captured three of the best recruits in the nation. Additionally, Wake Forest welcomes back its top nine starters from last season. What should fans expect from this team? Something they haven’t seen since 2005—a NCAA Tournament berth.
The frontcourt includes some savvy vets and three of the best freshmen around. Sophomore James Johnson (29.2 MPG, 14.6 PPG, 8.1 RPG, 1.2 APG, 48.7 FG%, 68.9 FT%) is back after leading the team in scoring and rebounding. Johnson is athletic, big and skilled, possessing the chops to play either power or small forward. Center Chas McFarland (21.5 MPG, 8.4 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.4 APG, 49.0 FG%, 65.9 FT%), who stands seven-foot-even, showed marked improvement last season. L.D. Williams (27.7 MPG, 8.9 PPG, 3.8 RPG, 1.1 APG, 43.1 FG%, 63.8 FT%), a junior swing, also returns with a whole lot of experience. Waiting on the sideline are frosh Al-Farouq Aminu, Ty Walker and Tony Woods. All have huge potential.
In the backcourt, the resilient combo guard Jeff Teague (29.7 MPG, 13.9 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 2.5 APG, 43.4 FG%, 80.3 FT%) offers fine scoring chops, while Ishmael Smith (32.1 MPG, 8.6 PPG, 3.4 RPG, 4.7 APG, 42.6 FG%, 29.1 FT%) has excellent passing skills, ably setting up plays. Smith is a pass-first point man who possesses a dismal foul shooting mark of 29.1%. The guard spots show less depth than the forward positions.
Prior to the start of last season, Wake’s popular coach Skip
Prosser died, leaving his assistant and friend, Gaudio, to pick
up the pieces and guide the team. It was a tough season filled with
emotional healing, personal growth and team building. This season,
the Demon Deacons look ready to excel. The upcoming season is ripe
with opportunity. Watch out for these guys. A top-four finish in
the ACC is possible.