The victory over #2 Miami proved that Wake Forest has the pieces in place to return to an ACC power.
Yesterday's victory over a Miami team who was ranked #2 in the country and was previously undefeated in ACC play was nothing short of spectacular. Unfortunately some Wake Forest fans were not as happy as others with our first win over a top 5 team since 2009 because of their feelings towards Jeff Bzdelik. Those fans are more than welcome to cheer for their team in whichever manner they choose, but frankly I'm tired of rehashing Jeff Bzdelik's tenure after each game win or lose. I'm not going to discuss the status of our head coach anymore, and instead am going to focus on our young and talented core of players. The Miami game proved that the roster we have assembled can compete with nearly every team in the country.
Codi Miller McIntyre - I thought yesterday was Codi's best game of his young career for Wake Forest. He went head to head against an All-ACC point guard in Shane Larkin and he out-played him. Codi had 15 points on just 8 field goal attempts and also had 3 assists and 2 rebounds. He demonstrated why he was such a highly regarded recruit, and has done a solid job running the point for us even though he is more of a combo guard. We have been running more lineups where Madison Jones runs the point and Codi plays off the ball. With CJ Harris graduating after this year and point guard Shelton Mitchell entering in 2014, Codi could become an outstanding two guard for us in the future.
Madison Jones - Madison Jones came to Wake Forest as a bit of an after thought considering he accepted a late scholarship offer and much more attention was being paid to Codi Miller-McIntyre. Madison has proven to be a very solid contributor for us this year especially on the defensive end, as he is top 70 nationally in steal %. Jones is also shifty, can get in the lane and either finish at the rim or hit a cutting teammate.
Devin Thomas - Wake Forest Demon Deacon fans got excited when this 6' 9" freshman from Harrisburg, PA received national attention for shattering a backboard in a high school game. Little did we know that in his first year Thomas would already be a rebounding monster, and have solid footwork and moves in the post. In an 86-84 win against North Carolina State who has the most talented front line in the league, Thomas recorded 25 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 blocks, and 3 steals in 37 minutes of play. Thomas should definitely earn All-Freshman ACC honors and could absolutely develop into an All-ACC player for us.
Arnaud William Adala Moto - #BillMoto is going to become a dynamite player for us moving forward. He possesses such incredible athletic ability, and already has an ACC body. Moto just oozes with raw talent, and by the time he's a junior he is going to be scary. He's not a great 3 point shooter, but his shot selection has greatly improved and he is showing off his strong moves and ability to finish around the bucket. There is a reason he had offers from schools like UCLA.
Tyler Cavanaugh - Cavanaugh has certainly had his ups and downs for Wake Forest, but yesterday he gave us 16 strong minutes and was 4-4 from the field. I believe he is adjusting to the physicality of the ACC. As long as he can consistently hit jumpers and grab a few rebounds for us, he will be a good role player for us moving forward.
Aaron Rountree - Rountree is a very versatile player who is probably best suited as a spark plug coming off the bench. He is relentless on defense, has good vision, and is a willing passer. He does so many things that contribute to winning and is an excellent supporter of his teammates when he is not in the game.
Chase Fischer - Chase has seen his minutes decrease the past four games, but we've seen his 3 point field goal % increase from 32% last season to 42% this season. Chase is a player who can be another good role player for us. Any team can use a 42% 3 point shooter and if he can develop a pump fake and mid range game then he'll be even more valuable for us.
Travis McKie - Travis McKie has been an outstanding player for Wake Forest since day one. Each season he has had an offensive rating above 103 and this season he has a defensive rebounding percentage above 20%. I feel so happy for Travis that his teams are finally getting great victories in his third season. He has been a great player for us, and he deserves to experience wins like we've had over Miami. As Travis further develops his perimeter game, his senior season should be his best of all.
I'm not going to quote Ron Wellman and say "I couldn't be happier about the state of our basketball program", but I do know that we have some very good pieces on this roster, who form a very formidable unit. I am worried about Pitt, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Louisville joining our conference but I know we have the foundation to be competitive and build on.