The former Wake Forest point guard is staying in the NBA Draft. Where does that leave the Deacs?
Bryant Crawford is signing with an agent, and will officially forgo his senior year of eligibility, thus ending his Wake Forest career. This news was first reported by Les Johns of 247 Sports, and was later confirmed by Wake Forest University. Crawford initially declared without signing an agent in March, but had until May 30th to remove his name from consideration. Ultimately, he and center Doral Moore opted to sign with agents and continue through the draft process. How will Wake Forest look to replace Crawford next season?
Crawford, the former Washington D.C. Gatorade Player of the Year, will certainly be missed on the court. Though he frustrated fans at times with his sometimes over-ambitious passes, and his intermittent on-ball defense, he was still a very talented and productive player.
He averaged 16.9 points per game last year, along with 5 assists, and more than 1.5 steals per contest, to go along with 36% shooting from beyond the arc and 87% from the charity stripe. He had a strong feel for the game, and made passes that no other player on our team could make. Doral Moore greatly benefited from Crawford’s lobs last season, as did John Collins the season prior. Wake struggled to generate those lobs when Crawford didn’t have the court, as others were either unwilling or unable to make those passes. Crawford was also one of the few players who could create his own shot, which had value late in the shot clock.
Wake Forest will look to Brandon Childress to fill some of the void that Crawford has left. Childress improved as a sophomore, as he improved his offensive efficiency, scoring, passing, and shooting. In order to take the next step, he will need to get better at finishing at the rim, as he made just 38% of his shots from inside the arc. And for all of the talk about Crawford being a reckless player, Childress actually had a higher turnover rate than Crawford did last season. Childress will have added pressure since Mitchell Wilbekin will be lost due to graduating. This loss makes missing out on Mike DeVoe that much more crushing. Graduate transfer Torry Johnson could potentially help, but he averaged more turnovers than assists during his time at Northern Arizona. This is likely my biggest concern headed into the season.
The Deacs were a huge mystery headed into this offseason, but a lot did not end up going in Wake’s favor. Both Crawford and Moore remained in the NBA Draft, while Keyshawn Woods opted to transfer as a graduate student to Ohio State. Donovan Mitchell could have been a nice rotation player for Wake next season, but he chose to transfer to Santa Clara.
I fully expect Olivier Sarr to be dramatically improved, as he got good looks last season, he just couldn’t always convert. A few minor tweaks, and he can take a big leap forward. I also expect former 5-star Chaundee Brown to improve. He played very good defense, and started to come into his own offensively last year, as there was a stretch in ACC play where he scored at least 15 points in 4 out of 5 games.
Wake-signee Jaylen Hoard is the truth. He will be an immediate impact player for Wake next season, and will provide exceptional versatility. I also believe that Isaiah Mucius will make an impact, though not to the degree that Hoard will. This team will be athletic, and has a lot of versatility, but the loss of Crawford hurts, as ball handling and passing are not areas we can easily replace.
Best of luck to Bryant next year as he takes the next step to pursue his dream of becoming an NBA player. Next season is certainly going to be an interesting one for the Demon Deacons.