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Wake Forest Basketball Player Profile: Mitchell Wilbekin


Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Sophomore guard Mitchell Wilbekin led Wake Forest in 3-point percentage and free throw percentage last season, starting 26 of 29 games, averaging 7.2 points and 2.3 rebounds per game. His season best scoring performance came against Virginia Tech on January 31, scoring 15 points. Wilbekin only reached double figures in 11 games, six of which came in conference play.

Wilbekin came to Wake Forest after originally committing to Danny Manning at Tulsa, and while most fans saw his commitment as a step down from the decommitted, higher-ranked Shelton Mitchell, Mitchell averaged just 4.3 points per game for Vanderbilt in his freshman season, and managed to score in double figures in just two games. (Mitchell did contribute 103 assists on the season, good for 2nd all-time among Vanderbilt freshmen - but he transferred this April to Clemson).

Wilbekin has a quick, high release and is best on the catch-and-shoot. He has very quick hands and can spread the floor well, but has yet to show much in transition or attacking the basket. He also struggles to defend guards that are larger than him.

In this year's offense, it will be interesting to watch how he plays with incoming freshman (and only other remaining scholarship guard) Bryant Crawford. Especially as Codi Miller-McIntyre returns from injury and the bench is short with Cornelius Hudson and Rondale Watson suspended, Wilbekin's role early in the season will be expanded and his minutes and usage should skyrocket. To that end, Mitchell's efficiency was high last year because he didn't take very many shots. His 3-point % (.386), if expanded to cover the amount of shots he'll need to take in the offense early this season, will be tested.

Can he add a midrange shot to his game? Has he worked on his ball handling? Wake was prone to turnovers in the backcourt last season when other teams ran full-court traps. If Mitch got double teamed, his height and size were disadvantages, especially with Wake's poor spacing in the full court. When the squad gets back to full size, spacing and pace will be interesting to monitor. If freshmen John Collins and Doral Moore can add anything to the offensive game in the paint, to go along with Devin Thomas's role inside, it should only create more looks from 3 for guys like Wilbekin, Dinos Mitoglou, and Cornelius Hudson on the perimeter.