Wake Forest Demon Deacons
Ever so quietly, Steve Forbes, who I nicknamed the master of guard play (and who can also be nicknamed the master of the portal) in early September in a sleeper team piece, has rattled off eight straight wins after starting the season 2-3.
Not much gets talked about how good of a coach Forbes really is. Wake Forest is a difficult job with Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State continuously overshadowing the program. Besides Tim Duncan and Chris Paul, there just isn’t much to sell for a program that hasn’t won an NCAA Tournament game -- or been ranked -- since 2010.
Enter Forbes, who averaged 26 wins per season during his five-year tenure at East Tennessee State, who now has the Demon Deacons entering the NCAA Tournament conversation.
Efton Reid, a two-time transfer from LSU and Gonzga who became eligible six games ago, has been the difference maker, averaging nine points and nine rebounds with quality outings in their wins over Rutgers, Virginia Tech and Boston College.
In addition to Reid, Wake Forest has deployed a potent offense and has gotten All-ACC caliber play from Gonzaga transfer Hunter Sallis (18.4 Pts, 3.2 Reb, 2.2 Ast) and Central Michigan transfer Kevin Miller (16.9 Pts, 2.6 Reb, 4.3 Ast) while Cameron Hildreth and Andrew Carr remain integral pieces to this talented squad.
The Demon Deacons, who recently survived Boston College 84-78 in OT in Chestnut Hill on Tuesday, don’t have a Q1 win yet but have a solid NET Ranking of 55 and an even more solid KenPom ranking of 42 -- both solid numbers for a team looking to get into the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2017.
Up next for the Demon Deacons includes a home game against Miami (FL) on Jan. 6, a team who just recently knocked off Clemson with a 60-point second-half burst.
If you love offense, you should be in for a treat.
Buy or Sell the Demon Deacons?
The eight-game win streak is no fluke and the addition of Efton Reid adds a different dimension to this team -- specifically on the boards. I like the upside of this group and I think Forbes will find a way to get the Demon Deacons dancing in March. Buy stock in the Demon Deacons.