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2016 Wake Forest Basketball Recruiting: Big Men

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Who are the top big men targets?

Today I continue my series that looks at Wake Forest's top recruiting targets at each position. This article will feature the big men, and that means I'm talking about 5* Harry Giles. Which other big men is Danny Manning recruiting?

Point Guards

Shooting Guards

Small Forwards

Power Forwards

Harry Giles (5*, 2 overall)- If you were interested enough in clicking this article, you likely are interested enough in Wake Forest athletics to have heard Giles’ name before. That is because the talented PF is a Winston-Salem native, a consensus top 2 player in the nation and 5* recruit, and a potential future Demon Deacon legend. Wake made Giles’ top 8 earlier this spring, but it is generally agreed upon that the race for his services is only between UK, UNC, Duke, and WF. In his most recent update about his recruitment, he mentioned how Danny Manning has been pitching him to stay at home and be the "Mayor of Winston-Salem" if he commits to the Deacs, and although it sounds somewhat humorous, that pitch might be 100% accurate.

A commitment from Giles would not only make the 2016-2017 season for Wake Forest an incredible one, and put the ACC Regular Season, Tournament, and NCAA Tournament titles all within an arm’s reach, but would put this program back on the map and nationally relevant for years to come. If Giles commits to Wake Forest, you can expect another top 40 recruit to follow and want to play with him as well (A Dennis Smith package deal has been talked about in the past), and this then establishes the program as a desired place for top recruits once again. Recruiting for 2017, 2018, and even 2019 only gets easier when those kids see a #1 recruit in the country choosing to wear the Black and Gold and watching Wake Forest featured games on ESPN and CBS every other weekend with Giles playing. Does not landing HG3 doom the program for the foreseeable future? Absolutely not. But landing him would be a massive step in getting this program back to where it was, and where it should be in college basketball.

Edward Ekiyor (4*, 125 overall)- Ekiyor is another big time recruit coming out of Canada that is garnering some serious interest from big time schools. He’s a 6’9 aggressive PF who has a high motor and is a rebounding machine, currently #14 in RPG’s in the Nike EYBL league leaders. Where he stands in his recruitment process is a little less clear than some of the other players on this list, and that’s mainly because he’s risen greatly in rankings over the last twelve months and only now is picking up significant Power 5 offers. 247sports has Wake Forest, Kansas State, Michigan State, and Providence as "Warm" on his interest rating, though he also has talked fondly of Vanderbilt in recent months. Ekiyor is a player I feel like if Manning really wants, he has a good shot at landing, but at the moment no visits have been scheduled and there doesn’t seem to be too much haste about the process either. I think Ekiyor has huge upside and would be a great pickup for the Demon Deacon staff, and hopefully he sees potentially playing for Danny Manning as an excellent opportunity as well to make this a perfect match.

Sacha Killeya-Jones (4*, 48 overall)- I’ve written a lot about Sacha Killeya-Jones in recent days, including this piece right after the talented PF decommited from UVA last week unexpectedly. Killeya-Jones visited Wake Forest’s campus multiple times before committing to Tony Bennett and the Cavaliers back in early January. In the time from his commitment to now, his stock has soared on 247sports’ rankings to its peak of 48 right now, when it was 122 back on January 14th. There’s a lot to like about Killeya-Jones who is an athletic PF with a lot of potential; potential that a coach like Danny Manning dreams about being able to work with seven days a week and turn into an NBA level big man. If I were a betting man, I would put money on the table that Manning is going to go after Killeya-Jones once again now that his recruitment has reopened, though I’m not sure how confident I’d be that the second time would be the charm for the Deacs. For one, with his stock higher than ever before and the PF now a free man with open ears, the coaches and programs he will be hearing from are likely going to be far more numerous and prestigious than the last time around when Wake was in the running for his commitment. Also very rarely do recruits decommit from well-established, top 10 programs only to join one that is on-the-rise and looking to rebuild, though maybe I’m underestimating Manning’s ability to pitch his overall coaching prestige to a young PF looking to maximize his potential. A commitment from Killeya-Jones would be excellent news for the Deacs, but there are other big men Manning is likely more heavily targeting now for that spot.

Javin Montgomgery-Delaurier (4*, 60 overall)- In the mold of Sacha Killeya-Jones’ recruitment, Montgomery-Delaurier’s reputation amongst scouts has skyrocketed in recent months since Wake Forest offered back in April. And "skyrocketed" isn’t a hyperbole, considering that’s the best verb I can come up with that accurately describes climbing 100 spots in 247sports’ rankings in about a month and a half like JMD just did. He also broke Scout’s Top 40 in their most recent updated rankings and I can only see Rivals and ESPN following suit after his recent performances on the AAU circuit. As always, an increased ranking goes hand in hand with an increase in offers, and such is the case with Montgomery-Delaurier with Georgetown, Texas, and Florida all offering recently. I think it’s absolutely vital that Montgomery-Delaurier visits campus at some point this summer and maybe once again in the fall as well. With his recruitment just really starting to pick up, I can see his process being more dragged out more than some others on the list as offers continue to flood in, and Wake should use that extra time to make sure he has a good look at the school and everything it has to offer.

Matthew Freeman (3*, UR)- Matthew Freeman is a newcomer to many Wake Forest fans’ recruiting board and that’s because it was just announced on Twitter this week that he had been hearing from the staff along with a few other D1 programs. Due to the fact that Freeman is from New Zealand, I haven’t been able to find multiple scouting reports on the PF other than some highlights and some analysis from the 2014 adidas Nations tournament last August in California. Freeman averaged 11.8 PPG and 5.0 RPG in 19 minutes per game for the Asia Pacific squad. Freeman has been training with ex-NBA Point Guard and coach Frank Johnson in New Zealand, and has developed quite an impressive stroke from deep with solid footwork to match. While Freeman might be listed as a PF, he’s likely more a Mitoglou type of 4 who plays on the perimeter far more often than inside. Of course, you always take a risk with international players considering they may not be going against the best competition in their teenage years, but with Dinos likely gone after next season the Deacs will need a stretch 4, and Freeman fits the bill perfectly.

Harry Froling (4*, UR)- There’s another Power Forward named Harry that you should pay attention to for this recruiting class, though he’s a completely different type of player than the one you’ve grown familiar with. Harry Froling is a 4* big man from Australia who AUSA hoops ranks at #7 nationally for the 2016 class. He averaged 25.3 PPG, 12.4 RPG (Led the tournament in both categories), and 2.2 APG while shooting 35% from downtown at the U18 Australian Junior Championships in April 2014, which gave him a spot on the All-Tournament team. It’s also important to note he was only 16 at the time he was putting up those impressive stats against some of Australia’s best. Froling could be an absolute steal for the 2016 class and would give the team some versatility in the rotation considering he can play in the paint and on the perimeter. Simply put, if Manning didn’t think Froling was good enough to fill one of the few remaining spots available given how loaded the 2016 class is already, he wouldn’t have offered him a precious scholarship just a few weeks ago.

Australian 2016 PF Harry Froling (@HarryFroling) has picked up an offer from Wake Forest

Centers

Rodney Miller (4*, 88 overall)- Rodney Miller is a 6’11 big man from high school powerhouse Oak Hill Academy who would flourish under coaching from Danny Manning if he chooses to play his college ball in Winston-Salem. He’s a little raw at the moment, but he has the size and athleticism to really excel and develop into a fantastic big man at the college level with some proper coaching. He visited with Danny Manning back in mid-March and I would anticipate him coming back to campus again sometime this summer or fall possibly for an early out-of-conference game. Since his Wake visit he has received an offer from Seton Hall (He’s originally from the Newark, NJ area near Seton Hall’s campus) and went on a visit to Miami as well towards the end of April. Wake has put in an unbelievable amount of work on landing Miller so far and I don’t think Manning is going to let him slip through his fingers, particularly because the competition to land the talented C is not as difficult as some other big men in the class (See Javin Montgomery-Delaurier and Sacha Killeya-Jones).

For more frequent updates on Wake Forest recruiting, you can follow me on Twitter @DeacFan3. And of course, as always, Go Deacs!