Final Report Card: Wake Forest
So far, the Jeff Bzdelik experiment at Wake Forest isn’t working out too well.
In two seasons, the Demon Deacons’ coach, who replaced former coach Dino Gaudio because Gaudio’s teams didn’t play well enough at the end of seasons, so said athletic director Ron Wellman, has led this proud program to consecutive last-place finishes in the ACC.
Wake lost a record 15 league contests in 2011 and this past season tied three other teams with 12 losses. Its only wins were over the other 12-loss teams: Virginia, Georgia Tech (at home in overtime) and twice over Boston College, which was the youngest club in ACC history.
Gaudio, by the way, led Wake to two NCAA Tournaments in three seasons, his last campaign beating Texas, which was ranked No.1 on the nation earlier in the season, and falling to a sensational Kentucky team.
The bottom line is that it’s entirely fair to continue with the reminders as long as Bzdelik’s teams struggle. Fans obviously are aware, which is why apathy is approaching an all-time high at a school that had one of the league’s best atmospheres just a few years ago.
Wake Forest finished the season 13-18 overall and 4-12 in the ACC. Here are the grades for the Deacons’ performance this season:
Wake offense: A couple of Deacons are actually quality ACC players, notably forward Travis McKie and guard C.J. Harris. But this unit struggled often getting good looks and scoring. Wake finished 7th in the ACC in scoring (65.5), 8th in field goal percentage (42.7), 9th in 3-point percentage (33.3), 11th in rebounding offense and 8th in assists. Grade: C-.
Wake defense: At times, it appeared as if the Deacons hadn’t prepared at all for their opponents. They didn’t communicate well nor did they rotate well. The standard defensive principles exercised by most ACC teams were often void with the Deacs. They 11th in the ACC allowing 70.4 points per game, 12th in defensive field goal percentage (44.1), 11th in 3-point defense (35.5 percent), 12th in rebounding defense, but 4th in blocked shots. Grade: F.
Wake intangibles: Certain players remained focused throughout the season and Wellman clearly is confident in Bzdelik’s ability to get the job done. But at age 59 and with no track record for success, one has to wonder. This is important because while the AD believes, it was apparent the players didn’t always believe, and it too often showed in their play. Grade: D.
Wake final grade: At least Wake beat some of the poor teams on its nonconference schedule this past season, unlike Bzdelik’s first year, for the most part. But it also lost by 30 to an Arizona State team that went 6-12 in a horrible Pac-12. No good wins for Wake, either. Grade: F.