Wake Forest preview capsule
Last season: 11-20, no postseason.
Nickname: Demon Deacons
Coach: Danny Manning
Conference: Atlantic Coast
Who’s gone: Center Doral Moore (NBA), guard Bryant Crawford (overseas), guard Mitchell Wilbekin (graduation) and three transfers — guard Keyshawn Woods, swingman Donovan Mitchell and forward Melo Eggleston.
Who’s back: Guard Brandon Childress, who averaged 9.1 points in 26 minutes per game, is the only player who appeared in the Demon Deacons’ NCAA Tournament loss in 2017. Sophomore guard Chaundee Brown made 29 starts last season and 7-footer Olivier Sarr will be asked to contribute on the inside.
Who’s new: Forward Jaylen Hoard is the program’s highest-rated recruit since Al-Farouq Aminu in 2008. The Demon Deacons also brought in a couple of Division I transfers in guard Torry Johnson (Northern Arizona) and Ikenna Smart (Buffalo).
The Skinny: The rebuilding process continues in Year 5 under Manning, who has had more 20-loss seasons (two) than 20-win seasons (one) so far. They need to show across-the-board improvement to avoid slipping further behind in a difficult ACC.
Expectations: The Demon Deacons face 600-to-1 odds to win the NCAA Tournament, according to Las Vegas oddsmakers. An upper-division finish in the ACC and a postseason berth of any kind would be a positive step and represent a realistic goal for the Demon Deacons.
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