2005 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Basketball Preview
2005 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Team Preview
Wake Forest with one of the best up-tempo games in the nation enters this season with four starting seniors, a top freshman pick, and additional talented first-year players on the bench. They’ll be missing guard Chris Paul and his 15.3 PPG and 6.6 APG big time. Paul, who went fourth overall in this year’s NBA draft, left Wake Forest part way through his collegiate career, creating an experience gap at guard.
There may be some scorers on the Demon Deacs who can make up for Paul’s point totals but there doesn’t appear to be anyone who can create assists and opportunities the way that he could. Justin Gray will be the new point man and his 16 PPG make him a good replacement, but his 2.3 APG will need to improve. He’ll also be required to better his defensive abilities and to cool it on the charging violations. Gray does bring a competitive spirit that can carry a team. The senior guard has the additional burden of being the only backcourt man on the Wake Forest squad with extensive experience on the court.
Senior Chris Ellis is the second starting guard, but no one knows if he can step it up. Last year he shot 55.6% from the field and 61.5% from 3-point land. But that was with limited playing time. With Ellis going full-time the question will be can he sustain his effectiveness for an entire season while playing the majority of minutes in every game? If he can’t will freshman guards Harvey Hale and Shamaine Dukes be able to contribute immediately?
Wake Forest’s most promising freshman forward is Kevin Swinton who can hit consistently and repeatedly from inside but not from the perimeter. Although he was one of the top high school prospects this year, Swinton’s lack of shooting versatility does not seem to mesh with Wake Forest’s focus on players who are more than simple specialists.
At 6’ 9” and 280 pounds center Eric Williams hit 63.0% from the floor last year. That same time he pumped in 16.1 PPG and grabbed 7.7 RPG. Senior swingman Trent Strickland will start for the first time this season. Strickland is an excellent athlete but can blunder when he has the ball and get angry at inopportune moments. Can he rise to the occasion? For the Demon Deacons to be a threat a few players will have to be willing and able to fill the gap left by impact player Chris Paul.
For more info on the 2005 Demon Deacons check out the official Wake Forest athletic site.