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Will Wake Forest Basketball Add Another Recruit to the 2016 class?

Is the 2016 recruiting class complete or still a work in progress?

Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the day we all implored would never come has officially arrived. Harry Giles committed to Duke this afternoon on ESPN over Kansas, Kentucky, and our own Wake Forest, ending the dream of Danny Manning landing the #1 overall recruit in the country and jumpstarting this program back into the national spotlight. Despite hearing hints of good news throughout the last few months that this dream could become a reality, ultimately Giles decided that attending Duke for his 1 year in college was the best decision for him and I personally wish him nothing but the best. But this article (Or our thoughts in general) shouldn’t be about Giles anymore, it’s about where do we go from here. The options are simple: Call the current 2016 class complete or go after another recruit. The answer should undoubtedly be the latter, but will it happen?

As you already know, the 2016 recruiting class is four deep right now: Sam Japhet-Mathias, Brandon Childress, Richard Washington, and Donovan Mitchell. Given the fact that Wake only had 4 scholarships available the class is technically full at the moment. However, due to the nature of college basketball these days and the high-transfer rates, coaches often take classes over the limit with anticipation of attrition. An example of this would be last year when Moore, Collins, and Crawford all committed before Miles Overton announced he was transferring to free up the third scholarship. But who could be added to the class that we know of right now? The target list is scarily small.

Harry Froling is a name that has been thrown around for the last 5 months as a potential “backup” plan to Giles, though the Australian is far from backup material. Froling is currently playing professional ball in the NBL as an amateur for his hometown Townsville Crocs and was labeled by Fox Sports as one of the Top 10 NBA prospects in the Australian league. He also had a terrific Adidas Nations tournament for Team Asia Pacific at the end of the summer and averaged stats comparable to many 4* and 5* prospects in the US. Despite saying in an interview earlier in the summer that he was looking to visit Wake Forest this fall on an American tour, nothing has since been scheduled and it seems as though the interest between the two sides as evaporated out of thin air. Wake was one of the only schools heavily recruiting him to not send an assistant coach to Australia for an in-home visit and that along with all the Giles attention could have made him feel like a secondary option. Manning could have also been higher on current 2016 class member Donovan Mitchell, who committed just a few weeks after the last bit of news we heard about Froling and Wake. Froling has yet to take any of his official visits and likely is planning on coming in the following weeks to the US to see his top few schools, but it is unclear if Winston-Salem will be one of the destinations. The truth is this: If Manning wants a shot at landing “the other Harry” time is running out on making an impression.

Another name that has been mentioned in recent months is Bruno Fernando, a 4* C from Angola who now plays for the #1 HS team in the country Montverde Academy. In terms of sheer potential, few high school players in the country are on the same level as Fernando given his size and athleticism. He’s skills are a little raw at the moment, but that’s exactly why committing to Wake Forest and learning from a guy like Danny Manning would be the best possible scenario for him. The only question is if the interest from our side is there. Apart from watching a few of his games for E1T1 this summer, nothing substantial has happened that would indicate Fernando is a priority for the staff. However, if there was a prospect where coming into the recruiting scene late could still work it’s Fernando. Since his recruiting process is only just now beginning in his final year of high school basketball, his offer sheet is quite small and he likely will wait until after the season to decide on where he wants to play. The main competition would be SMU, who has made Fernando a top target in recent weeks, and LSU and UCF who have both offered. While the staff is a little less time-pressed in this recruitment compared to Froling, waiting is still not an option when it gets to this point of a recruiting cycle. If Manning wants Fernando he needs to make that clear early and often from here on out.

Finally, people have talked about Kwe Parker as an option to become the 5th member of the 2016 recruiting class since his decommitment from Rutgers earlier in the week. The talk is accompanied with 5 Crystal Ball predictions for Wake Forest in the last three days for Parker, but those picks seem to me like shots in the dark rather than anything based on actual news. If Manning truly wanted Parker he would have made it clear by allowing him to schedule an Official Visit after he stated his intentions of coming to Wake’s campus back in July. Nothing has happened in the last few months (In Kwe’s performances or Wake’s roster) that would make me think Manning has changed his mind drastically and is now desperately looking for a way to bring Parker aboard with the scholarship limit already reached for 2016. The decommitment seems more like Kwe not wanting to attend Rutgers than anything else, which would correlate with his actions over the summer of visiting RU, trying to schedule other OV’s, and then choosing the Scarlet Knights with no other committable offers on the table. Crazier things have happened, but I’d put my money on Kwe going to an SEC school (Maybe UT with Jalen Johnson) and Wake never really showing any interest.

If you think I’m hinting at the 2016 class being done it’s because I am. As much as I’d love Danny Manning to add one more based on the talent were losing next year in Devin and CMM, I don’t see it happening based on recent commits from other targets and virtually no news on Froling or Fernando in more than two months. Of course, there’s always the possibility that Danny is working behind the scenes on a target and we just haven’t heard about it yet, but at this point the recruit would have to be a mid-level 3* or a foreign prospect. I find it hard to believe Manning could be recruiting a 4* for this long and keep the entire thing quiet simply based on all the reporting and interviews in the recruiting industry now. The real hope is that the staff gets more involved with Froling or Fernando and adds a valuable big man to the 2016 class to accompany the other four current commits, but waiting is not an option if that is the goal. If the staff wants another recruit in this class, it’s now or never.