2009-2010 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Basketball Preview
After finishing third in the conference last season, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons (24- 7 overall, 11- 5 ACC) made it to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2005. In the tourney, they went one and done. With the loss of the offensive and defensive prowess of James Johnson (15.0 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 1.5 BPG) upfront and Jeff Teague (18.8 PPG, 3.5 APG, 1.9 SPG) in the back, it will be tough for the Deacons to get back to the Big Dance.
Last season, the Wake Forest Demon Deacons were first in the ACC in field goal percentage (49%), second in scoring offense (81 PPG) and second in rebound margin (+5.9). Still, the club’s scoring defense, which allowed 70.7 PPG, was rated 9th on defense, ninth in frees at 71% and 11th in threes, putting in just 32%. In terms of three-point shots, this season’s returning team members hit only 23.7%.
Forward Al-Farouq Aminu (12.9 PPG, 8.2 RPG, 1.5 APG) put in a solid freshman season last year. In 2009- 2010, he’ll be asked to contribute even more, being more aggressive. What the team needs is for Aminu to become the new Johnson. Although he’s only six-foot-nine, Aminu is a tough inside presence. Two seven footers, senior Chas McFarland (8.7 PPG, 5.8 RPG, 0.5 APG) and sophomore Ty Walker (0.9 PPG, 1.1 RPG, 0.1 APG), will be at center. Although McFarland has been the starter for two seasons, he’s had numerous emotional outbursts and problems with foul trouble. Six-foot-eleven center Tony Woods (3.2 PPG, 2.6 RPG, 0.1 APG) could be poised for a breakout year.
Senior guard Ishmael Smith (6.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.4 APG) is an exhaustive penetrator but struggles from the outside. The backcourt lacks a three-point shooter, which means that freshman Konner Tucker, a downtown expert, should see some important minutes on the court.
Last year in mid-January under coach Dino Gaudio the Demon Deacons were the only unbeaten club in the nation, having notched a victory over the champion-to-be North Carolina Tar Heels. This year, Gaudio now lacks the star power that he had last season. Although the coach doesn’t have those massive talents, he does possess versatile players, experience and depth. A bid for the Big Dance is not out of the question but the NIT looks to be more likely. If a few players can step up and break through, this team could be a contender.