Believe it or not, the 2015 Wake Forest basketball season begins Friday night as the Demon Deacons take on UNC-Pembroke in Winston-Salem. In previewing the year for the Deacs we will be taking a look at each scholarship player on the roster to give our readers a complete look at the roster and what to expect.
These profiles will combine basic information and expectations with some advanced statistics from KenPom.com. We have received mixed feedback in our analysis, some say we rely too heavily on statistics, while others say they can't get enough. Nearly every writer here believes that advanced statistics, specifically KenPom.com is extremely useful information and it incorporates almost everything that goes on on the basketball court (including "chemistry", "will to win", "team player", and "luck").
We begin our player profiles with senior point guard Codi Miller-McIntyre. As most Wake Forest fans probably know by now, CMM suffered a foot injury (well we found out at Media Day last week that he has had a stress fracture since his freshman year in high school), and is out for 4-6 weeks.
In an interview released today with Andy Katz of ESPN, Codi said that the timetable is two weeks to get the cast off, and then he will start rehabbing from there.
He estimated he would be back to 100% around January (the start of ACC play), but had no indication of when he would be back out on the court. Most optimistically hope that he will be back by the Maui Invitational in Hawai'i, which is Nov. 23-25th.
For some reason Codi has been much maligned by a segment of the Wake Forest fan base, which in my mind is ridiculous for several reasons, but primarily because he has been extremely productive on the court for the Deacs.
Has he been as efficient as a scorer and all of us would like? Absolutely not, but with all the minutes played and the role that he has taken on for the past three year's it is not all that surprising.
Miller-McIntyre is listed at 6-3, 205 pounds by the Wake Forest official website, and at 14.5 PPG last year, is the second-highest returning scorer in the ACC. He is also one of just six current ACC players to enter this season with over 1,000 career points.
He started all 32 games last season, and in addition to his 14.5 PPG, he chipped in 4.8 RPG, and 4.3 APG in 31.5 MPG. Those numbers were good enough for 11th in the ACC in scoring, and 7th in assists.
In fact, he has played in 94 games throughout his Wake Forest career and started in 92 of them. Needless to say it will be strange to not see CMM out there on Friday night when the team takes the court.
A knock on Codi is definitely his free throw shooting, which was 64.4% last year (112/174), and 62.7% for his career. As aggressive as he is (ranking second in conference play in fouls drawn per 40 minutes at six per game), if he could get his percentage up to 70 or 80% that would be a huge boost to the team. That would have resulted in 9 more points, and 27 more points respectively, which obviously would have gone a long way in our close games.
His three-point shooting is also not where most would want it to be, sitting at a paltry 28% last year (19/67). In an ideal world he would not shoot many threes and solely focus on driving and dishing/finishing at the rim when he can, but as we all know by now, the team makeup the past three years has not exactly been conducive to this.
I am hopeful that another year under the belt of Dinos Mitoglou and Mitchell Wilbekin will yield more consistency from behind the arc so Codi can really work on getting into the paint.
The KenPom player comparison rater projects his sophomore and junior years to be right along the track of Depaul's Brandon Young's sophomore and junior, who graduated last year.
Looking at Young's senior year it seems that he stayed remarkably consistent to his junior year at about 16.5 PPG, 4.2 RPG, and 3.5 APG, but dropping in efficiency numbers despite taking on less of a role in the offense.
Hopefully Codi will have more growth than that this year and continue to improve at a slightly better clip than Young was able to. The prevailing thought is that Codi will have more weapons around him and that should make him more efficient with a lower usage rate.
Regardless of what some fans think of Codi, as well as what his legitimate limitations are, he is a critical player for Wake Forest and probably a top three player on the team right now barring a freshman blowing the doors off. His time missed will be good for the development of Bryant Crawford, but anybody that thinks it is not a big loss for Wake Forest and its chance at postseason this year is sorely mistaken.
Once it is all said and done Codi will be a lot like Travis McKie, a guy who is one of the most productive Demon Deacons ever, but unfortunately played during a time that did not yield a lot of postseason productivity at all.