Wake Forest returns home on Wednesday to take on the Louisville Cardinals in their final ACC home game of the season. If you haven’t already, check on Rob’s article on just how important this game is for the Deacs. Louisville comes into the game ranked 8th in nation with a 23-6 record and 2nd in the ACC at 11-5. Beating this Cardinals squad will be no easy task, but a win would be huge for the Deacs’ chances to go dancing this year. Here are the guys to keep an eye on this Wednesday.
Donovan Mitchell | Sophomore Guard | #45
Mitchell has been one of the ACC’s premier players this season. In conference play, the sophomore is averaging 18.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 2.1 steals per game while shooting 46% from the field. His play this season has gotten the attention of NBA scouts, and the lastest Bleacher Report mock draft has him going 17th overall (right after our guy John Collins). Unfortunately for the Deacs, they are catching Mitchell on a hot streak; in his last 3 games, he is averaging 24 points on 57% shooting. Mitchell is a super athletic guard that can create his own offense and score from pretty much anywhere on the court. He definitley thrives with the ball in his hands, and his ability to pull up off the dribble may be the best in the ACC
Mitchell is also really good at shooting the deep ball. He is 5th in the ACC in 3-pointers made this season with 72 and shoots 42% from long range in conference play. He has no trouble hitting 3s off the dribble and can knock them down with guys right in his face. Even perfect defense may not phase him if he gets it going early from deep.
To go along with his ability to shoot, he has great ball handling and an explosive first step that makes him a great driver as well. His athleticism allows him to hang in the air an absorb contact and avoid shot blockers. Mitchell is one of those players that can score in so many ways that he can be impossible to stop no matter how you play him.
When the game gets tight, Mitchell is a guy Louisville can clear out for and count on him to come up with a basket. On the defensive side, his 2.1 steals per game lead the ACC. He is always a threat to get his hands in the passing lanes and create turnovers, which of course typically lead to easy baskets for the Cardinals.
Deng Adel | Sophomore Forward | #22
Adel is one of those 6’7, super athletic wing players that can give the Deacs matchup trouble. He is averaging 11.8 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 2 assists per game in the ACC. He is not a particularly great shooter, shooting just 40% from the floor and 33% from beyond the arc this season. That being said, he is still 3rd on the team in 3-pointers made, and it seems like bad shooters always find a way to get hot against the Deacs.
Probably the place where Adel is most dangerous is in transition off of steals or missed baskets. He’s got long strides that allow him to glide down the court in a hurry and finish over just about anyone. Finding him in transition and picking him up early might not be a bad idea.
Adel falls into that category of being a guy that might be too athletic for Arians, but is also too big for some of our quicker defenders. McClinton might be a good matchup option for the Deacs now that he is healthy again.