Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik’s found the going tough during his tenure in Winston-Salem, with the program’s struggles resulting in a disgruntled fan base that includes some who have called for his job through public channels. With one of the ACC’s better front court players in Travis McKie back for his senior season, the Demon Deacons will look to improve their standing within a conference that’s gotten tougher due to the arrival of Notre Dame, Pittsburgh and Syracuse.
On-court struggles can make the chore of selling one’s program to recruits even tougher, meaning that for a program in a down cycle those recruiting victories take on added importance. On Sunday evening Wake Forest landed a verbal commitment from 2014 center Isaac Haas, a 7-2 big man with the size needed to help the Demon Deacons inside against the better teams in the ACC.
Haas is Wake Forest’s second commitment in the 2014 class, joining Oak Hill Academy point guard Shelton Mitchell.
The Hokes Bluff, Ala. native picked Wake Forest despite holding offers from programs such as Purdue and Texas A&M. Haas averaged 17.8 points and 10.8 rebounds per game this past season, and his commitment gives Wake Forest some much-needed size. 7-foot sophomore Andre Washington is the only center in the program currently, with Tyler Cavanaugh, Daniel Green and Devin Thomas competing at the power forward position (Cavanaugh and Thomas are sophomores, while Green is a junior).
Thomas and Cavanaugh were members of the rotation last season with Thomas posting averages of 9.1 points and 7.5 rebounds per game, leading the Demon Deacons in rebounding. As for Cavanaugh, he played an average of 16.7 minutes and accounted for 5.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per game. With McKie (who’s the starting small forward) out of eligibility after the 2013-14 season, Wake Forest will need more size if they’re to be competitive in the ACC.
Adding more talent on the recruiting trail and having those seven sophomores mature are two keys if coach Bzdelik and his staff are to be successful.