ESPN's Jeff Borzello reported this morning that Sterling Smith, Wake Forest's top graduate transfer target, has committed to Pittsburgh. That one hurts. When stud graduate transfer Damion Lee committed to Louisville yesterday, that meant Wake still had a chance at Sterling Smith, who visited Wake two weeks ago. Unfortunately, Smith and his 40% 3 point shooting is no longer an option. Where does Wake Forest go from here?
Coppin State transfer Sterling Smith has committed to Pittsburgh, his advisor tells ESPN.— Jeff Borzello (@jeffborzello) April 24, 2015
Wake's top choice on the board is probably 2015 shooting guard Malik Ellison. Unfortunately for Wake, Chris Mullin and St. John's got involved recently and appear to be Ellison's likely landing spot. I do not like our chances with Ellison, and certainly will not be holding my breath on this one.
Shaun Kirk is another player who has been mentioned as possibly filling that final scholarship opening. He's a consensus 3-star recruit, but has yet to actually receive a scholarship offer from Wake Forest. He had a very impressive AAU showing two weekends ago in Dallas. One thing to track this weekend will be if Wake sends a coach to evaluate him and potentially offer him a scholarship.
Personally, I'm a fan of Kirk and am a believer in his upside. His jumper isn't perfect, but it is decent and he is an explosive athlete, who would probably perform well in Manning's up-tempo system. If I had to bet, then I would guess Kirk is our most likely candidate to fill that 13th spot.
<iframe class="twofourseven-embed" style="max-width: 100%" frameborder="0" width="600px" height="200px" src="http://247sports.com/PlayerInstitution/Shaun-Kirk-at-Flora-Macdonald-Academy-60772/CurrentExpertPredictions/Embed?SnapShot=635653832397258069"></iframe><script async src="http://media.247sports.com/scripts/shared/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
<iframe width="640" height="390" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/E694gV79J7w" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>
Danny Manning has proven to be fairly adept at roster management and finding "diamonds in the rough." After all, none of Dinos Mitoglou, Mitchell Wilbekin, and Cornelius Hudson were highly sought after prospects, yet all three had very strong seasons.
Wake could try and land a transfer who would have to sit out a year, but Manning and his staff seem compelled to fill this last spot with a player who can contribute this upcoming season. Of course, another player on the roster could transfer, leaving room for Wake to take a player who would sit out, but I have not heard anything at this time about there being another transfer.
I don't know how Manning is going to fill the final roster spot, but I'm confident that he's going to add another player. From his actions last offseason and this offseason, he appears to always want 13 scholarship players to use at his disposal.