Wake Forest Demon Deacons

Entering his third year with the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, Steve Forbes has his work set out for him, hoping that the transfer portal works in their favor.

The countdown is officially on. For the second straight year, CBB Review has ranked the top 100 teams in college basketball heading into next season. We will reveal the next team daily until we get to number one. The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are our 56th-ranked team.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons are relying heavily on Coach Steve Forbes as he has been able to bring in players from his former team and is an excellent recruiter. The uphill battle comes as players try to earn time and learn to play cohesively. Forbes has completely changed this Wake Forest team. This team will need a leader, and that is likely found in a player from last year’s team, Davien Williamson, and incoming player Tyree Appleby.

To those who have not, click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams in the 2022-2023 college basketball season.

Head Coach: Steve Forbes (3rd year)

2021-2022 Record: 25-10 (13-7)

2022 Postseason Finish: Went to NIT

Notable Departures: Jake LaRavia (NBA), Alondes Williams (NBA), Isaiah Mucius (graduate/undrafted), Dallas Walton (graduate/undrafted), Khadim Sy (graduated), Carter Whitt (transfer to Furman), Tariq Ingraham (Transfer to Rider)

Projected Rotation:

PG: Tyree Appleby (6’1, 170, Sr.)

2021-2022 stats: 10.9 points, 2.1 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1.2 steals,  36.4 FG% (Florida)

SG: Daivien Williamson (6’2, 170, Sr.)

2021-2022 stats: 11.8 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 0.7 steals, 45.1 FG%, 39.5 3p%

SF: Damari Monsanto (6’6, 225, RS-Sr.)

2021-2022 stats: 7.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 0.8 assists, 0.8 steals, 39.6 FG%

PF: Andrew Carr (6’9, 210, So.)

2021-2022 stats: 10.0 points, 5.1 rebounds, 1.3 assists,0.9 steals, 1.1 blocks, 60.1 FG%, 40.5 3P% (Delaware)

C: Davion Bradford (6’10, 275, So.)

2021-2022 stats: 3.3 points, 1.9 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.4 blocks, 50.0 FG%

6: Cameron Hildreth (6’4, 195, So.)

2021-2022 stats: 3.5 points, 2.9 rebounds, 1.2 assists, 46.2 FG%

7: Matthew Marsh (7’1, 250, So.)

2020-2021 stats: 2.8 points, 1.8 rebounds, 0.3 steals, 0.1 blocks 66.7 FG%

8: Jao Ituka (6’1, 196, So.)

Career stats: 15.3  points, 3.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 52.6 FG%, 41.0 3P% (Marist)

9: Robert McCray (6’4, 185, So.)

2021-2022 stats: 1.9 points, 0.6 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.1 steals, 55.6 FG%, 40.0 3P%

10: Lucas Taylor (6’5, 195, So.)

2021-2022 stats: 0.1 points, 0.1 rebounds, 0.2 assists, 0.2 steals

Team MVP: Andrew Carr

A young player with a solid understanding of defense soft spots, Carr gravitates to that area to attack. Carr can do so many things offensively that cause issues for defenses. He can drive, jam, create his shot, or hit the big 3-pointer. He can take the easy shot but is strong enough to finish through contact. The pace change from playing at Delaware to the ACC is no minor change.

He will need to step up, but Coach Forbes is excellent at assessing talent and the Demon Deacons have all the respect to trust in him. With all the playing time available, I think there is an apparent path to Andrew Carr being the leading scorer for the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.

Make-or-Break-Player: Daivien Williamson

Daivien Williamson will be forced into a leadership role as the leading returning player for Wake Forest and Coach Forbes. He will need to help bring in new team members and help the younger players grow. Williamson will need to facilitate and lead the Demon Deacons. There is a lot of work that is to be done in order to have success in the ACC. More importantly, Williamson will have to take the pressure off of Carr and help out offensively. His maturity and understanding of the game are a massive asset to the Deacons, but he will need to contribute on both ends of the floor.

Analytic to Know: Turnover and Offensive Rebounding Percentage

Wake Forest’s weakest stats are, not surprisingly, turnover percentage (233) and offensive rebounding percentage (224). This team is not very big but needs to find the scrappiness on the boards. Coach Forbes has been a part of defensive and rebounding teams. Yet, last year, it was not a focus of the Demon Deacons. This team needs to improve these stats and create second chance opportunities and breakaways. Both could catapult this team into the top four in the ACC.

Team Outlook

There are many new pieces, and this team has a challenging uphill climb against powerhouse teams—the two with the most talent potential in Duke and North Carolina. Also, the sneaky team of Virginia has quietly done an excellent job recruiting. This is part of the reason that while I was high on Wake Forest, the other contributors were not as high. Giving this team a balance, the lack of depth is a glaring issue for this team, but there is an upside for Wake Forest.

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons spent the summer playing abroad and working on cohesion. This is a massive step, but the team has a few easy games before its actual test against Wisconsin on November 29. The other team that is interesting early in the schedule is Georgia on November 11, but I think that is a team this one could easily win against. After that, this team will face a brand new or revamped LSU team before wrapping up against Rutgers on December 17.

Projected Conference Finish: 8th in the Atlantic Coast Conference

Projected Postseason Finish: NCAA Appearance

Ceiling: Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament

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