On his radio show with the Voice of the Deacons Stan Cotten on Monday night, Wake Forest men’s basketball head coach Steve Forbes announced further changes to the Deacons’ schedule.
Wake Forest will now not play Virginia on December 16 or VMI on December 21 as originally scheduled due to further COVID-19 cases within the basketball program and contact tracing. Coach Forbes said that even if there were no more positive cases, the Deacs would not be in game shape in time to play the VMI game.
The next game on the schedule for Wake Forest is against Syracuse at home on December 30. While it is possible that a game could be added before then, with the way things are trending right now with rising cases and constant cancellations in college basketball it is highly unlikely that the Deacons will play again before December 30.
When asked about when the team could return, Forbes said: “We’re looking at over a month of not playing a game after starting the season, so we’re basically starting over. That’s ok. That’s the hand that we’re dealt. I’m not making any excuses, because the most important thing is the health and safety of our players. That’s going to be number one. When we feel good about that, that’s when we’ll start back. Then we’ll get to playing a game. We’re not going to call them out of quarantine, have a practice, and then play a game. That’s not possible. Conditioning is too big of an issue, especially in basketball. It’s not about Xs and Os; it’s about player safety. So VMI just isn’t going to work out.”
In addition to the players who have tested positive, Forbes said that his son Christopher, who is the team video coordinator, also tested positive and has shown symptoms.
“I went through it not just as a coach, but as a parent. My child tested positive, and it’s been a rough go. My wife and I have been really worried. I know most people don’t, but I get frustrated when people act like this isn’t a big deal because it is. Especially when you’re a parent going through it with your own kid. It’s scary. I have my own children plus my players. It’s been a little overwhelming this past week dealing with the situation.”
Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski addressed his concerns over playing college basketball in the middle of a pandemic after the team’s home loss to Illinois on Tuesday, and the Blue Devils have subsequently cancelled their remaining non-conference games.
In his postgame press conference, Coach K addressed the situation at Wake Forest.
“I mean a lot of kids aren't going to be able to go home for Christmas; probably a time where they should for mental health. We’re just plowing through this. And I was texting with Steve Forbes last night—his own son got it. Five players got it. Really even, we should get weekly updates as to how many programs are on pause, how many cases were there, what’s going on? Instead of just plowing through.”
Wake Forest does not release the numbers of who was infected within the program, but Coach K seems to have provided that information for us.
It looks like Wake Forest basketball will remain 2-0 in the Steve Forbes era for at least a few more weeks. Basketball all seems so secondary and unimportant right now.
Get well, Deacs! Wear a mask!