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SF’s Take: 5 Keys To Wake Forest’s Turnaround

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Since I couldn’t personally get video to work for the Charlotte game and it was another blowout anyway, I thought I’d do a special feature rather than trying to analyze a trouncing of a bad team via box score. So I’m going to talk about 5 things I think have been vital to our turnaround.

NCAA Basketball: Wake Forest at Charlotte Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
  1. The Rise Of Doral

We’ve talked about it here on BSD, but truly, Doral Moore’s almost meteoric rise has been instrumental in the team’s success. Bless him, I absolutely put Doral on blast after the season opener, but he said he’d put his heart and soul into the rest of the season, and the big man has proven to be nothing if not honest. He’s been dunking, rebounding, and being an inside presence that, while not as polished, complete, or NBA-ready as John Collins, has rapidly asserted his own brand of dominance in the front court.

2, Better Rotations

Less four guard action, and more minutes for Donovan Mitchell, Olivier Sarr, Melo Eggleston, and Sunday Okeke have been undeniable ingredients for success. One could very much argue it shouldn’t have taken this long for the coaches to figure out, but better late than never. I’ll still take it.

3, Use Of Zone

Another positive sign for the adaptability of the coaching staff, the implementation of more zone defense has thus far been a revelation. And yes, we’ve been playing against worse teams, but we’ve successfully thrown teams off their game by being more versatile on offense, and it’s also helped conserve both energy and fouls for Doral Moore, which frankly speaking is enough of a positive by itself. Basketball is such a fluid game that the number of domino effects even one change can have is truly impressive. The other wonderful part about this is that the effectiveness of the zone seems to also be having some benefits when we use man, whether it’s a psychological thing, physical (i..e. conservation of energy) or some of both. Whatever the reason or reasons, it’s wonderful to see.

4. How Bryant Got His Groove Back

Honestly, it surprised me a bit when Bryant Crawford seemed to initially struggle with life without John, if only because I figured the leadership role would be something he would relish from day one. Thankfully though, he seems to be hitting his stride again, whether it’s swag-tastic shooting exhibitions like the game against Charlotte or games in which Bryant throws oop aftr oop, BC seems to be finding sweet spots and letting the game come to him in a way he wasn’t to start the year.

5. Oh, Right. We’re ACC.

Let’s be real, some of it is just honest to goodness regression to the mean and getting over some unexpected psychological hurdles to get the team playing how they’re capable of. As bad as those losses were, they were also marked by uncharacteristically bad performances by Wake Forest and, frankly speaking, abnormally good outings from our foes. I’m not going to sit here and tell you the former had nothing to do with the latter, but it certainly wasn’t the only factor. The only blowout was Liberty, and the others (especially the opener against Georgia Southern) felt like cases where they punched us in the mouth and for a while, we forgot how hard we could punch back. Thankfully, that seems to be in the past, and now the Deacs are throwing haymakers.

Did I miss anything? Let me know. Above .500! Aw yeah. Let’s keep this ball rolling. On to the next. Go Deacs.

—SF