Triad Pro Am Highlights 2010

August 8, 2010

We’ve discussed the Triad Pro-Am in previous years, a summer league that features a lot of the Wake Forest incoming players and some other area college players. This year featured several new Wake players, including J.T. Terrell and Travis McKie, along with guys who just finished up their careers at Wake such as L.D. Williams.

Here’s some video highlights of this year’s summer league:

Dino Gaudio…Gone

April 9, 2010

Three coaches have already exited the ACC following the NCAA season, the latest of which being Wake Forest parting ways with Dino Gaudio. Many in Winston-Salem, NC, were left a little perplexed as to why, after making the NCAA tournament and beating Texas in the first round, and after bringing in several highly touted recruits, was Gaudio let go?

The reasons given for Gaudio’s dismissal were the late season collapses during Gaudio’s tenure and inability to win in the postseason. If true, this should serve as a shot-across-the-bow to all of those coaches who think that expanding the NCAA tournament will somehow guarantee more coach’s jobs in the future, where Gaudio’s appearance in the tournament and last year’s number one ranking weren’t enough. In the ACC, Athletic Directors want to compete with Duke and UNC, and often just being a solid program isn’t enough.

This doesn’t mean that schools don’t often make mistakes. NC State became a mainstay in the NCAA tournament under Herb Sendek, but while his Wolfpack teams were solid and putting players consistently into the NBA, the Pack faithful soon tired of finishing behind the Blue Devils and Tar Heels and Sendek finally resigned and took a position at Arizona State. The Pack have been pretty much cellar dwellers ever since. While the NC State fans may be glad Sendek is gone, the case of Sendek, Gaudio and several other coaches serve as a legacy of impatience.

It’s not clear what, exactly, Wake Forest expected from their team and coach this season that would have saved Gaudio’s job. To be fair, last season was a bitter disappointment, given that the 2008-09 Demon Deacons had three future NBA players in Jeff Teague, Al-Farouq Aminu and Jeff Johnson, and a strong supporting cast in Ish Smith, L.D. Williams and Chas McFarland. By all rights, it was a team that should have made the Final Four. Ranked number one in February, they eventually limped into the tournament and were quickly bounced.

But this year’s team only has one lock for the NBA in Aminu, although Smith, Williams and McFarland all returned, and promising underclassmen were contributing. Looking at the talent level of the ACC, the Deacons would have been considered overachieving if they’d finished any higher than they did, and considering that many ACC schools got an unexpected bonus when UNC fell apart this season, Wake’s late season losses wouldn’t be enough to lose a coach his job in most cases after only three years.

It could have been last year’s flop or this season’s late loss to the flailing UNC that did Gaudio in. It could also be noted that while Gaudio was bringing in solid players, he wasn’t bringing in the type of players that his predecessor, Skip Prosser was. Prosser landed Aminu, Teague and Johnson prior to his untimely death and Gaudio had yet to bring in a single player of that hype. This isn’t to say Wake Forest doesn’t have NBA talent on it’s roster, but Johnson, Teague and Aminu were early-exit type players before they ever landed on campus. It’s possible that Ron Wellman, the Wake Forest AD, saw the lack of star power coming in, combined it with the late season underachieving and decided to make a change. It’s also a highly pressurized situation in the ACC. UNC had a horrible year by Tar Heel standards, but they are likely a possible favorite to compete again for the NCAA title as quickly as next season. No doubt Wellman considered that as well. However, his statements that Gaudio was fired because of the late season losing is insight into the fact that many ADs are too quick to pull the trigger, despite claiming otherwise, and this firing seems more the result of an irrational expectation of the current team. Unless Wake Forest is willing to take the risks that Kentucky is taking (everyone around the nation is wondering how fast the NCAA is going to show up in Lexington), the concept that they can bring in another coach who can immediately build a national power is a pipe dream. Even Prosser, by all rights a solid coach and recruiter, hadn’t really been able to prove he was the long term solution in the ACC. In the year of his death, he’d finally put together a team that had the talent to compete, but he still needed that major season to really show he was a coach to be reckoned with in the ACC, a league where you need a national title to be considered one of the big boys.

Was this firing the right move, or was it another case of a school being too impatient, giving up consistency in hopes of getting a big time winner? Only time will tell. Consider that Kentucky’s John Calipari had enough talent to win the NCAA and should have been a lock for the Final Four, but his job isn’t in jeopardy because he already has been to a title game, he’s got a reputation and he’s in his first year at UK. The margin between winning ‘enough’ and ‘not enough’ can be thin, and Gaudio had much less leeway.

ACC Recruiting Roundup, Volume 2

August 17, 2008

Alex has an article on Wake Forest basketball commit Tony Chenault (PG/SG,6’1″,2010), where the scorer talks about his recent commitment to the Deacs:

“[It’s a] great school. They [are] known for producing great point guards like Chris Paul. They let their players play . . . [and are in] one of the best conferences in the country,” said Chenault as to why he picked Wake, an ACC power in the 21st century.

Thanks to Alex for the heads up on the future ACC player.

Derrick Favors cuts his list

Derrick Favors (PF, 6’10”, 2009) has cut his list to ten schools, and both Georgia Tech and NC State are still in the mix. Popular opinion seems to be that GT is still the leader, but Favors has not publicly said that.

Dexter Strickland Dunks Away Critics

The Adidas Nations camp takes current high school prospects and pairs them with an “NBA Mentor” during the camp. Not sure if Dexter Strickland, who played the camp after a somewhat light summer schedule was paired with former Carolina players Antwan Jamison or Raymond Felton (both of whom are repped by Adidas), but he was able to answer some of his critics with the camp highlight dunk. To be fair to Dexter, the critics are foolish in this case; Dexter is getting knocked because he chose to rest after an injury, did not play a heavy summer schedule and since he was MIA from the big time events, his stock supposedly slipped. That is laughable and hurts the credibility of a ranking system that pulls that stunt. It’s an old GM joke about a scout who’s favorite player is always the last player they saw.

Anyway, here’s a pretty good rundown of the Adidas event.

Kyrie Irving has ACC interest

You might have heard about Kyrie Irving (PG/SG, 6’2″, 2010), and you might have known that he plays for the same high school team as Dexter Strickland, and maybe you even knew that he had a whole bunch of interest from the Big East. But you probably didn’t know that he also has interest from Maryland, Virginia Tech and UNC.

Irving is officially on our ACC watch list.

Dominic Cheek’s List

Dominic Cheek is expected to announce a preliminary college list in September, and Wake Forest appears to be right in the mix.

Michael Snaer: Playing time is a factor

July 2, 2008

Michael Snaer (SG/SF, 6’5″, 2009), has been on the radar for some ACC teams but is ‘less visible’ to those of us on the east coast since he’s a California kid. And UCLA has been after Snaer, which is a pretty daunting recruiting challenge for any ACC school. However, Snaer says in this interview that playing time at UCLA is a concern:

“Yeah, it is, just with the guys they have coming in ahead of me.”

Snaer goes on to mention that Virginia Tech has expressed interest in his game, and that a lot of new schools are getting involved in his recruitment, but no mention of Miami or FSU.

Noel Johnson plans USC, U of L visits

Noel Johnson plans to visit Louisville and USC this fall, according to this story from NBE Basketball. However, he also still mentions interest from ACC schools Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.