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- tarheelsben1 - 07-13-2004 06:22 PM

From Inside Carolina



Any discussion of the top programs in the ACC this year needs to start with Wake Forest.

Point guard Chris Paul was one of the top freshmen in the country last season, shooting guard Justin Gray is one of the nation's most dangerous scorers and senior swing guard Taron Downey is a proven team leader.

And for all that, the Demon Deacons' real strength is in the paint.

While many college teams struggle to come up with enough big men to run a traditional front line of two forwards and one center, Wake Forest has an embarrassment of riches with low posts Eric Williams, Vytas Danelius and Kyle Visser, underrated Jamaal Levy and solid Trent Strickland.

Another potential member of the rotation, 6-9 sophomore Todd Hendley, decided to transfer this summer, but Wake can go big or run a small three-guard lineup. The Deacs can go back and forth perhaps more effectively than any team in the country.


PROGRAM OVERVIEW: The Demon Deacons reached the NCAA Sweet Sixteen last year for the first time since 1997, part of a wondrous upward arc the past three seasons under coach Skip Prosser.

Prosser's Wake squads have won 21, 25 and 21 games in the past three years, becoming a fixture at the top or near the top of the standings. Last year, they did it with no scholarship seniors so now Prosser has his starting five back intact, plus all his key subs.

Injuries hurt that depth last season but if healthy this year, no ACC team can match the Deacs man-for-man up and down the line.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "We would like to get into a rotation of playing four or four and a half post forwards. I think (we) have the ability to have a big, strong front line with some experience with Vytas (Danelius) and Jamaal (Levy) being seniors, Eric (Williams) and Chris (Ellis) being juniors, and Kyle (Visser) with a year under his belt. We could safely play some big, strong guys in that front line." -- Coach Skip Prosser.


KEY RECRUITS AND TRANSFERS: Forward Cameron Stanley -- The 6-7 forward was Wake Forest's lone signee. Stanley, from Millbrook High School in Raleigh, N.C., saw his stock jump two years ago after an all-star performance at the ABCD camp in Teaneck, N.J. He has worked hard to develop a consistent perimeter game to go with his explosive forays to the hoop.

INJURY IMPACT: The 6-9 Chris Ellis had surgery on his fractured right foot in April, an injury originally suffered last October at Wake's first practice. He didn't play until Dec. 30, and wasn't nearly as mobile and effective as he had been prior to the screw being placed to hold the bones together. Ellis, son of former NBA star Dale Ellis, is recovering well and should be ready to play more minutes this year.

Prosser also hopes the 6-9 Vytas Danelius, a 2002-03 all-conference pick, is ready to return to form after an injury-plagued junior season. Danelius missed six games with a nagging high ankle sprain that limited his effectiveness last season. If Danelius can battle all the way back, he and big Eric Williams will be a tough tandem to handle.

- Lucy - 07-13-2004 06:47 PM

Very nice writeup!! I, for one, am drooling to think of all the talent we have coming back this year and am very excited about the upcoming season. Once again the schedule will be tough, not only with our traditional conference foes, but with OOC matchups @ Illinois, @ Cincinnati, @ Temple, @ New Mexico and home against Richmond and Texas.

Go Deacs! 04-bow

- CB13 - 07-18-2004 12:09 PM

Are we going to have any freshmen play big part this year like Chris Paul did and I have not heard how Chris Ellis surgery went so how did that go.