If there are two things about Wake Forest basketball I can promise you in the near future it's 1) The 2018-19 Demon Deacons are going to look nothing like this past year's team and 2) The current incoming recruiting class isn't quite yet finished.
Back during the November signing period, we speculated whether or not the 2018 class was going to add a 5th member when it was all said and done. At the time, the Deacs were over the scholarship limit heading into next season and would've needed two transfers in order to add to the 2018 class. Fast-forward to mid-March, knowing Sam Japhet-Mathias, Donovan Mitchell, and Richard Washington aren't coming back, and now we're looking at multiple uncommitted seniors to fill the roster for 2018-19. If there's one thing I've learned about recruiting over the last couple of years it's that whenever you think you've taken too many commits for next year, you should probably think again.
I can see the Deacs looking to add at least two more members to the 2018 class given the current attrition and potential for more unexpected departures. Adding a pure big man is definitely a top priority, along with a "best available" type option. While it's unclear who the recruit would be at the moment, I don't think a foreign prospect is totally out of the picture. For now, I'll mention the few names that we've been linked to recently and the other schools we're competing with for their services heading into the April signing period (4/11-5/16).
Profile: 3* PF, The Patrick School (NJ)
Competition: Illinois, Seton Hall, Syracuse
Latest WF Note: Listed Wake in his Top 4 earlier this month
Manuel is a 3* prospect from New Jersey HS powerhouse The Patrick School (formerly known as St. Patricks) and listed the Deacs in his top 4 earlier this month along with Illinois, Syracuse, and Seton Hall. He's currently rated #181 in the 247sports Composite and is a versatile big who can stretch the floor or pound inside for tough buckets. On the Nike EYBL Tour last summer, he averaged 9.9 PPG and 7.4 RPG against some of the best competition the 2018 class has to offer. The Patrick School also plays against some of the best programs in the Northeast year in and year out, so competition-level is not an issue here. Manuel has produced against some of the best in HS ball for the last twelve months and proven himself as a legitimate dual-threat presence with huge upside at the next level.
The main competition here seems to be Syracuse and Seton Hall, the former of which is coming off another Sweet 16 run and offered 3 weeks ago, and the latter having hosted Manuel multiple times for unofficial visits over the last 18 months. If Wake can land an Official Visit in the coming weeks we'll certainly have a shot here, though it may be difficult to beat out High Major programs closer to home who are coming off NCAA tourney seasons.
2018 Patrick School big man Valdir Manuel is down to a final four of Seton Hall, Syracuse, Wake Forest and Illinois, per source https://t.co/s7d2rU8dhW— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) March 3, 2018
Profile: 3* C, Hargrave Military Academy (VA)
Competition: Kansas State
Latest WF Note: Staff offered on 3/15 after watching him play live
Lorng is the prospect I think Wake has the best chance to land at the moment for a couple reasons: A) He recently scheduled an Official Visit to Wake and Danny Manning offered on Thursday B) He is a native from France (Hi, Olivier and Jaylen) and attends Hargrave Military Academy, a school Wake has had connections to in the past and C) Few other programs seem to be on the radar right now in terms of incoming offers.
Lorng has earned scholarships over the last two years from Creighton, USF, Tennessee, Houston, and MTSU, but none have been linked to him in recent months. He had a really good showing on the Adidas Uprising circuit last spring, averaging 10.2 PPG and 7.9 RPG for the Louisville Magic. Lorng will be a project of sorts, but he has the potential to be an absolute beast at the next level with the help of Danny Manning in the post. At 6'10, 255 lbs, he has the ACC frame, it's just a matter of developing his touch around the rim to be a serious presence at the collegiate level down the road.
Wake Forest has offered 2018 Hargrave big man Christian Lorng; head coach Danny Manning was in to see him today@WakeRivals— Corey Evans (@coreyevans_10) March 16, 2018
Prediction: I think the Deacs are the favorite here heading into the spring signing period.
Profile: 3* PF, Wasatch Academy (UT)
Competition: Florida, Syracuse
Latest WF Note: Claimed interest in a visit to Wake last month
Samuel is technically a 2019 prospect at the moment, but the Deacs have been on him since last spring when he was a part of the 2018 class. I've talked about Samuel numerous times on here and the BSD Recruit Report Podcast and am a huge fan of his game; a high motor, athletic Combo-Forward who finds ways to contribute on both ends of the floor.
He was one of the breakout performers during the 2018 Basketball Without Borders Showcase in February, and it's not a surprise he has garnered a ton of High Major interest in the last 6 months. He listed Wake, Syracuse, and Florida as 3 places he was looking to visit in the near future, though in total he has over 20 scholarship offers from schools all across the country.
The staff's main advantage in Samuel's recruitment is that they can guarantee a spot for him in the 2018 class if he wants it, and reclassifying has been something he'd be open to if it was for the right opportunity. While he noted Syracuse was his "dream school" growing up, they currently aren't after him hard as a 2018 prospect, and if Wake Forest can land a visit sooner rather than later, the wheels could really start moving toward adding Samuel to the class.
Profile: 3* SF/PF, Blythewood (SC)
Competition: Maryland (No Offer)
Latest WF Note: Staff scouted him on 3/16
Braswell is probably the most 'under-the-radar' prospect of the four here, picking up the majority of his D1 offers during his strong senior year for Blythewood in South Carolina. Oklahoma State is his biggest offer to date, but Maryland and Wake Forest have been checking in on him this month and I wouldn't be surprised if one of them pulls the trigger on a scholarship soon.
Don't be fooled by the lack of High-Major interest until recently; Braswell was named SC Region 5-5A Player of the Year and led Blythewood to the Final Four this year in SC's highest classification. He has a really good stroke for a wing of his size (6'9) and can make electric plays on both offense and defense. I'll stop talking now and let you check out his senior year highlights below for yourself.
Given his length and quickness, he'll be able to guard potentially 3 positions at the next level; a trait Danny Manning absolutely loved about current 2018 commits Sharone Wright Jr and Isaiah Mucius. Simply put, I'm all in on Braswell as a late addition to this 2018 class and it'll be really interesting to see how the next few weeks play out in his recruitment.
Other Names to Keep an Eye On:
Bryce Golden- Decommitted from Pitt after HC Kevin Stallings was fired. 3* PF and ranked #185 on 247sports
Adam Trapp- Uncommitted 7'3 C from Minnesota. Offers from Purdue, Iowa. Ranked #317 on 247sports
Myreon Jones- Decommitted from Memphis after HC Tubby Smith was fired. 4* CG and ranked #101 on 247sports
We certainly have an active couple of weeks ahead of us to close out the 2018 recruiting cycle. For all your latest Wake Forest recruiting news and updates, stay tuned to Blogger So Dear and you can follow Ned on Twitter @DeacFan3.