Now that Wake Forest Coach Dino Gaudio and staff have officially locked up a very impressive 2010 five man class, they are sure to be back on the recruiting trail looking for the next great Deacon in the junior class. Click through for a preliminary list of players and what the Deacs will be looking for in this particular class...
Before we talk about some of the potential recruits, we thought it would be appropriate to evaluate the players Wake Forest will have on the team for the 2011-2012 season. There will likely be other turnover, but for right now this is how it breaks down (obviously, positions vary depending on lineups):
PG: C.J. Harris (Jr.), Tony Chennault (So.)
SG: Konner Tucker (Sr.), J.T. Terrell (So.)
SF: Ari Stewart (Jr.), Travis McKie (So.)
PF: Melvin Tabb (So.), Carson Desrosiers (So.)
C: Tony Woods (Sr.), Ty Walker (Sr.)
This leaves three scholarships for the class of 2011. Now, it is likely that Walker and/or Woods could be gone for a couple different reasons, but in that instance Desrosiers has the height and hopefully the bulk to man the center position with a year and a half of Wake strength and conditioning under his belt. That being said, it is obvious that the Deacons will need at least one, maybe two, post players in the 2011 class. At least two scholarships will also be spent on guards, so Gaudio is on the hunt for both a shooting guard and a point guard. Here are the candidates that have been mentioned with Wake so far:
Quinn Cook (pictured, 6'1" 180) - Cook is a smooth shooting lead guard out of the infamous Dematha High School in Maryland. While he is not as much of a slasher as some of the other candidates, he had a very impressive summer shooting the ball and is a great leader. Accordingly, he was chosen for the U-16 Team USA and has garnered plenty of attention from top programs all over the country. He has already visited Wake Forest with his good friend and Deacon commit Travis McKie. Cook also has serious interest from North Carolina, Duke, Georgetown, Maryland, Indiana, Arizona and many more. Obviously, he is a hot commodity and would be a nice get for any team on the list.
Marquis Rankin (6'0 160) - Rankin is a very athletic and fast point guard out of Vance High School in Charlotte, NC. At his small size he is able to explode off the ground for exciting finishes and is also very pesky on the defensive end. Rankin's outside shooting is a bit of a work in progress, but that's not keeping scouts from noticing his very high potential as a point guard in a major conference. Marquis is currently rated as the 4th best PG in the class of 2011 and Wake Forest has been recruiting him for the longest (offered him before his sophomore year). He originally planned on deciding on a school early, but has since decided to extend his recruitment a bit longer. The speculation was that he is waiting for a North Carolina offer, which does not seem to be in the cards right now. Other contenders for Rankin's services include Clemson, Virginia Tech, Ohio State and Syracuse.
Naadir Tharpe (5'11 150) - Tharpe, rated as a four-star prospect and #12 point guard in the class, is your prototypical jet quick Wake Forest point guard. While I have not seen more than a few clips on Tharpe, the scouting report is that he has a high basketball IQ and is very good at setting up teammates in scoring position. Tharpe idolizes Chris Paul and, as of this summer, really liked both Arizona (offer) and Wake Forest. Naadir plays for Brewster Academy in New Hampshire and has offers from Iowa State and Providence as well as interest from Oklahoma, Virginia Tech and Marquette.
Jabarie Hinds (5'11 150) - Hinds is an under-the-radar point guard that is starting to get some major looks from big time programs around the country. Hailing from New York, he has already netted offers from Louisville, Oklahoma, Wake Forest, South Carolina and Virginia, among others.
Trevor Cooney (6'3" 185) - Cooney turned plenty of heads this summer at the Lebron James Skill Academy. It was pretty impressive for Cooney to merely get invited to the camp as a rising junior, but he proved to be the best shooter in the entire camp throughout the sessions according to several reports. Obviously, Cooney is a very gifted shooter, but he also possess a high basketball IQ and is more athletic than you might imagine. He has visited Wake in the past for Chris Paul's camp and is sure to be very high on the staff's wish list. According to an interview in July, Cooney (who resides in Delaware) is highly interested in Villanova, Syracuse, Maryland, West Virginia and Virigina in addition to Wake Forest.
Damien Leonard (6'4"170) - Leonard is another player who is known for filling it up from deep. Hailing from South Carolina, he became a well-known name in the summer circuit for his streaky shooting. Leonard is currently ranked as the #8 shooting guard in the class and has interest from several schools including Wake Forest, Clemson, Florida, Kentucky, Louisville and many, many others.
Deuce Bello (6'3" 165) - Bello is an interesting case. He is likely the most exciting leaper in the class and has a reputation for dunking on anyone that gets in his way (If you don't believe me, youtube him). On the other hand, his present shooting stroke is lacking according to recruiting analysts across the nation. If he were 6'7", he would be one of the highest ranked prospects in the class, but instead he often comes across as a 6'3" forward. Regardless, Bello will still likely find a home in a BCS conference and has a couple years to refine his shot. Schools actively recruiting him include Wake, Clemson, South Carolina, Baylor, N.C. State, Memphis and Miami.
Quincy Miller (6'8 190) - I'm sure you've already heard plenty about Mr. Miller. Q is currently a Winston-Salem native and is already drawing some comparisons to Kevin Durant. While those may be a bit premature, he is a top 10 player in the class and a huge get for whoever signs him. Miller has very good handle for a player his size and can step out and hit jump shots if the defender decides to sag off. While Wake seemed to be in very good shape for his services early on, it seems that Duke has taken the lead according to other recruiting nerds like myself. Although it does not seem very promising for the Deacs, you never know in recruiting so it is a good idea to keep an eye on Miller over the next year. Other contenders for his services include Kentucky, Louisville, Baylor and Georgetown.
C.J. Barksdale (6'7" 190) - Barksdale is another top 50 player that Wake Forest has been keeping tabs on for a while. He is more of an athletic post presence than Miller and will look to add some weight to become a big time player in a major conference. At 6'7" he is a tad undersized, but that could change over the next two years. Barksdale hails from Danville, Virginia and is also strongly considering Virginia Tech and Florida.
Kyle Wiltjer (6'9"200) - Wake recently entered the picture for Wiltjer, the number five power forward in the class according to Scout. Wiltjer, out of Portland, Oregon, is very skilled for his size and is not afraid to mix it up in the paint. Kyle is wide open in his recruitment, but is also currently interested in Kansas, UCLA, Arizona, Kentucky and Texas, among many others. Clearly this one seems like a long shot for the Deacons, but definitely worth a mention.
Obviously, more names will pop up as the next several months go by, but these are the primary guys that have been mentioned so far. Be sure to stay tuned to BloggerSoDear for future updates about the recruitment of the next class of Demon Deacons.