April 20, 2010
It will take some time for Jeff Bzdelik to prove Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman made the right decision hiring him, but the new Demon Deacons coach is off to a promising start.
Remember the top 10 recruiting class many thought would splinter when Wellman unexpectedly fired Dino Gaudio? Well, Bzdelik and his assistants met with Travis McKie, Carson Desrosiers, J.T. Terrell, Anthony Chennault and Melvin Tabb in 36 hours on Friday and Saturday and all five have decided to remain in the fold.
Keeping the group intact is critical for a Demon Deacons program that loses seniors Ish Smith and L.D. Williams and sophomore Al Farouq Aminu off a team that faded late last season and lost by 30 to Kentucky in the second round of the NCAA tournament.
Since only five scholarship players return from last year, the recruits will be counted on to contribute immediately to help Wake Forest avoid a rare season of falling short of the NCAA tournament.
Maybe the biggest reason Wake Forest succeeded in retaining the entire recruiting class was because Bzdelik kept two of Dino Gaudio's assistants who have been instrumental in bringing in elite talent to the program.
If assistants Jeff Battle and Rusty LaRue can continue recruiting top players and Bzdelik's Xs and Os acumen puts them in a better position to succeed, maybe a hire that failed to win the press conference will end up winning on the court instead.