ACC Basketball: 2015-2016 Wake Forest Demon Deacons Season Preview

  Wake Forest Demon Deacons 


13-19 (5-13 ACC) in 2014-2015


Key Returning Players 

  • G Codi Miller-McIntyre
  • F Devin Thomas

Key Departures

  • C Aaron Roundtree
  • F Darius Leonard


  • C Doral Moore, #72 in ESPN 100, 4-star recruit
  • G Bryant Crawford, 4-star recruit
  • F John Collins, 4-star recruit




Danny Manning had been heralded for quite some time as one of the top assistant coaches in the nation prior to coming to Wake Forest last season. While Manning and the Demon Deacons struggled in his first year at the helm, there were glimpses of Wake Forest beginning to take steps in the right direction for the first time since NBA All-Star Chris Paul graced the hardwood ten years ago.

Since Chris Paul’s departure to the NBA, the Demon Deacons have had a great amount of trouble recruiting elite athletes to come in and be difference-makers in Winston-Salem. While record did not reflect progress for Danny Manning and his team in year one, his strong ability to recruit was shown off early in his ACC head coaching career, as he was able to snag ESPN 100 7-footer Doral Moore out of basketball powerhouse Montverde Academy, as well as 4-star guard Bryant Crawford out of Gonzaga High School in Washington D.C. Both players should be immediate impact players for the Demon Deacons, as they are already two of the most talented players on the roster.  John Collins (6’8″ 220 lbs.) from West Palm Beach, Florida also joins Wake Forest, and while he will play behind veteran Devin Thomas in the frontcourt, he should see some early playing time as well.

As far as returning starters are concerned, you cannot go too far down the road without speaking to the great athletic ability of senior guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. At 14.5 points per game, he is not only Wake Forest’s leading scorer from a year ago, but he is one of the top scoring guards in the conference entering this season. Miller-McIntyre will have to take another leap forward as a senior in order for the Demon Deacons to turn some of the close losses from a year ago (Duke, Virginia) into wins in the ACC.

Miller-McIntyre is not the only impact starter returning, with senior forward Devin Thomas back in the fold for Wake Forest as well. Thomas scored 12.0 points per game as a junior last season, and will be instrumental in the development of young guns John Collins and Doral Moore. The improvement of the frontcourt could be a big reason why the Demon Deacons improve in 2015, and Devin Thomas will be at the forefront of it all.


Schedule and Prediction


Wake Forest will play in the Maui Invitational in late November, and will have a chance to make an early impact in the non-conference schedule. They are scheduled to play #15 Indiana in the tournament on November 23rd, and will play either St. Johns or Vanderbilt in the second round, with a chance to play against #4 Kansas or a talented, young UCLA bunch in the third round among others, depending on the results of prior games in the round-robin event.

As far as the ACC schedule is concerned, it is not unreasonable to expect the Demon Deacons to make a modest improvement in the conference. Danny Manning’s bunch went 5-13 in ACC play last season, but were in many of their games late and were a tough team to figure out. They played very good defense for a good portion of their games, but at times struggled to score, leading to some close losses in the conference slate.

The schedule is brutal, with two games against #5 Duke, two against #19 Notre Dame, a road game against #1 North Carolina, and a home game against #6 Virginia in late January. Stealing a game or two in these tough match-ups will be instrumental in determining whether or not the Demon Deacons will make a run at an NCAA Tournament berth this season. That is, if they take care of business against less-talented conference opponents like Boston College and Georgia Tech.

For Wake Forest, it is more likely and more reasonable to expect an NIT Tournament berth. While I firmly believe that they will be able to upset one of the many top-ranked teams that litter their 2015-2016 schedule, ultimately it is going to come down to the team’s ability to put the ball in the basket. It is likely that there will be some games similar to last season, where Miller-McIntyre struggles with a rough shooting night, and the team won’t be able to pick it up around him. I also believe that this could happen a time or two against a conference team that they should probably beat, which could mean that there will be some untimely losses once again this season for Wake Forest. None the less, I firmly believe that a five or six win improvement is not out of the question for this team, as Danny Manning finally has things looking up and making a turn for the better in Winston-Salem.


Thanks for reading! Follow me on Twitter @MikeMcDanielACC and check out InsideTheACC on Facebook and on Twitter @InsideTheACC.

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