I generally try to start articles out with a bit of positivity in some way and I’ll do that here. I think that just about every single player on the Wake Forest Men’s basketball roster has an immense amount of talent(which is being wasted right now) and none of that I have, or most of the sane fanbase has, is with them.
The idea of accountability in the world is something normal people face in their everyday lives with school, jobs, personal relationships, you name it. If I tell my boss I’m not going to make the same mistake on this report and I do multiple times, I’m going to be reprimanded. If I told a good friend I would stop doing that thing that annoyed them, and continued to do it, there would be some sort of accountability there(drink to the face?)
That same accountability doesn’t hold for Danny Manning at Wake Forest. The reasonings have been redundant as to what’s going on game after game and why things don’t click. “We’re a young team.” “We need more paint touches and to get to the line more often” “We need to stop turning the ball over.”
No one, absolutely no one has said these things have been incorrect. Wake has been the last few years a very young team. Against Clemson last night and the entire year of John Collins, the ball should’ve gone inside more. I shouldn’t have to tell you why turning over the ball is a bad thing.
The part where the accountability piece comes in is the counterargument to all of these. You have had young teams every year well surpass expectations(Virginia Tech this year of note), but also why is Wake a young team every year? Why can’t Wake continue to retain players? Getting paint touches and getting to the line is very important, but Wake has been one of the best teams in the country at getting to the line. Why has it been YEARS and the issue of being a team that turns the ball over like it’s Kevin holding a pot of chili still a thing?
With turnovers especially, i’ll just link a few tweets just for an idea:
"No," Virginia Tech coach Mike Young said when asked if they did anything in particular to force so many Wake Forest turnovers.— Les Johns (@Les_Johns) January 15, 2020
Wake had 22 turnovers, Houston Baptist had 10.— Conor O'Neill (@ConorONeillWSJ) November 23, 2018
Wake let a team that opened up shooting 1-for-14 get comfortable.
That'll lose some games.
41 turnovers in the last two games combined for Wake Forest, and that's after they *only* committed 12 against Virginia.— Conor O'Neill (@ConorONeillWSJ) January 28, 2018
9 turnovers for Wake Forest after 13 minutes.— Conor O'Neill (@ConorONeillWSJ) December 7, 2019
They're still the worst-passing team in the country.
Double-digit turnovers in 4 of the last 6 halves of basketball for WF.— Conor O'Neill (@ConorONeillWSJ) January 19, 2020
At what point does it get to be unacceptable? This isn’t just a problem that just reared it’s head, this has been a blatantly bad issue and even with new guys coming in, it hasnt fixed it. Even with the idea that most of last year’s guys are back and so there’s some cohesiveness there, still hasn’t fixed that issue. At what point do you look at the one getting them ready for games and say that message isn’t getting there?
Playing defense has been... not a thing for Wake Forest Basketball for almost a decade.
After last night, Wake now 119th in adjusted defense per KP. This is the best the defense has ever been under Manning. Wake hasn’t been a top 100 defensive team since Gaudio’s last season.— FanaticDeac (@FanaticDeac) January 9, 2020
At what point do you take a look at the head guy getting them ready for games just isn’t getting the job done? Hell if this was any other school, the first question would be, “has Danny Manning lost the team?” Truthfully, it’s a fair question. You can’t keep kids from transferring out, you’re allegedly putting more emphasis on playing defense, not turning the ball over, and getting more paint touches, yet in the last(every) year, the same results, the same offense, the same turnovers, the same defense is there. At this point, it really seems the head messenger is just ineffective at coaching what he wants the players to do.
No one is asking for perfection with this team, only accountability. At this stage, accountability isn’t “I’m going to fix this.” It isn’t “we need to do XYZ.” We are well past the acknowledgement stage of things. Action has to take place and they speak a hell of a lot louder than words.
If you want more paint touches, why are you not drilling it into the players heads in practice? If you are, why is it not translating consistently on the court. There weren’t major adjustments made last night by Clemson and yet, the last 10 minutes of the game, Wake went away from everything they had been doing, and the coach(yet again) couldn’t right the ship.
That’s the biggest thing in this all. We don’t ever expect perfection from anyone, but expecting a group of 18-23 year olds to be perfect is a laughable task. With that being said, when things are going wrong, a normal and healthy expectation is for the head coach to get things somewhat back on track. There will be a couple of times teams derail. It sucks to say that, but these are kids. They’re going to make mistakes and sometimes not get back in it. If I get a couple of dumb emails at work I’m going to tilt to no end for the rest of the day. We’re humans.
At what point is enough, enough for the administration to realize the message just isn’t getting through? It’s not getting through to the fans and its apparently not getting through to the players on the court either.
At what point does accountability matter again?