"Jeff has done everything we asked him to do when he first came here. He's made every decision for the long-term benefit and welfare of our program. He has recruited well. We've got a group of freshmen who have much promise for the future." - Wake AD Ron Wellman to WXII-TV sports director Kenny Beck
Athletic Director Ron Wellman publicly reaffirmed Wake Forest's commitment to Jeff Bzdelik as the head coach of the men's basketball program through a series of interviews with local media outlets and the Associated Press on Tuesday. These interviews confirmed a widely held belief among many ACC media members that Bzdelik was in no danger of termination and, in fact, was not in the final year of his contract.
Wellman stated in his interview with the Winston-Salem Journal's Dan Collins that Bzdelik, "...still has multiple years on his contract," though he is not required to disclose the actual number to the public. That revelation was the only bit of new information obtained from Wellman, as the bulk of his talking points Tuesday echoed previous interviews.
Now that the coaching situation has been resolved (for better or worse in the eyes of Deacon fans), the Deacons now turn their attention to individual offseason conditioning programs and preparation for play in a new-look ACC in 2013-14. The Deacs' lone senior next season will be Travis McKie, while junior Chase Fischer and talented freshmen Devin Thomas, Codi Miller-McIntyre and Madison Jones are expected to return.
Another bright spot for next season is the impending return of 6'10 forward Daniel Green, who missed his entire sophomore season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. Green's much-improved play during the summer of 2012 had many fans excited for a what could have been an imposing frontcourt tandem with Thomas. Instead, Thomas, Tyler Cavanaugh and Arnaud William Adala Moto were left to man the paint against the likes of Alex Len and Mason Plumlee.
The Demon Deacons will hope for some positive contributions from incoming freshmen Miles Overton and Greg McClinton. Overton, from Philadelphia, is a 6'3 2-guard with range who has worked on getting stronger in the paint. His father Doug played in the NBA for 11 years and spent some time overseas. McClinton, a 6'6 small forward, is an athletic swingman with the ability to get into the lane at will. But he is currently coming off an ACL tear in early January, and timelines on rehabs from knee surgeries vary.
While response from regional and local media regarding the Wake Forest coaching situation has been tepid, at best, feedback from national writers has been far more incendiary. In a blog post released last night on CBSSports.com, Gary Parrish likened Wellman to a, "...loser at a blackjack table," opining that Bzdelik's retention was due solely to Wellman's refusal to admit a mistake.
Additionally, ESPN's Eamonn Brennan weighed in on the news on Tuesday afternoon, refuting Wellman's repeated assertions of the program's solid foundation with statistics and revisiting the unanswered questions of why Wake Forest basketball ended up in this furor in the first place.
Regardless, Tie-Dye Nation now has its answer. It's been said that winning will make all the vitriol disappear.
It's time to find out if that winning is going to happen.