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.
Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.
He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.
Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.
The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.
As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.
Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.
SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.
The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.
Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.
South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.
The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.
Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.
A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.
Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.
Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.
Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.
The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.
Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.