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Next Up - Wake Forest

The Deacs are probably going play angry after an ugly loss at Rutgers

Maryland Eastern Shore v Duke
 DURHAM, NC - DECEMBER 10: Jaden Schutt #14 of the Duke Blue Devils reacts following a three-point basket during the first half of their game against the Maryland-Eastern Shore Hawks at Cameron Indoor Stadium on December 10, 2022 in Durham, North Carolina.
Photo by Lance King/Getty Images

Date 12/20 || Time 6:30 || Venue Lawrence Joel Memorial Coliseum || Video ACCN

Wake Forest has had an interesting ride under Steve Forbes. Now in his third season, Forbes is 39-29 in Winston-Salem which in a lot of ways is impressive.

He took the job during the pandemic - he was introduced with a mask on in a video, which he threw off in his excitement for a nice viral moment.

He took the job too late to really get any recruiting done and the pandemic made life really tough. His first year, Wake Forest finished 6-16, which obviously included some cancellations. However, they visibly improved through the season and by the end were a fairly tough out.

Last year, he finished 25-10 and this year, so far, Wake is 8-4.

Forbes got to Wake Forest at a really interesting time: the transfer rule and the NIL changes more or less came into effect as he got started with the Demon Deacons and he’s just about tailor made for that environment.

Mike Krzyzewski pretty much nailed it about Forbes when he said that he had a keen eye for talent that he could bring and and incorporate very quickly.

Last year, he brought in Jake LaRavia from Indiana State and Alondes Williams from Oklahoma. Williams was named the ACC Player Of The Year last season while LaRavia went to the Minnesota Timberwolves with the 19th pick in this summer’s draft.

Wake also loses Dallas Walton who was a solid big man, Isaiah Mucius, who stuck around for four years despite significant turmoil with the Deacs and Khadim Sy, who moved around a lot during his career but helped Wake Forest. Carter Whitt left, too, taking his flowing locks to Furman where he quickly shaved them.

Forbes also has immense personal charm and a lack of pretense. A lot of coaches sort of like to portray themselves as, well, superior to most people (including their contemporaries).

Not Forbes - at least not publicly.

He poked fun at his home state of Iowa in a presser, saying it stood for Idiots Out Walking Around and on another occasion wore a ridiculous Christmas outfit to a press conference, lights and all.

He’s a breath of fresh air the ACC hasn’t seen since maybe Bobby Cremins and Jim Valvano.

This year, the Deacs have beaten Fairfield, Georgia, Utah Valley, LaSalle, South Carolina State, Hampton, Wisconsin and App State.

The losses have been at the hands of Loyola Marymount (77-75 in overtime), Clemson (77-57, LSU (72-70) and Rutgers on Saturday (81-57).

Obviously Wake could be 10-2 if LMU and LSU had turned out slightly differently but that’s as is. The other losses were pretty bad.

Wake was in the Clemson game until about halfway through the second half. Rutgers on the other hand just punished the Deacs.

Against Rutgers, Forbes started Matthew Marsh, Andrew Carr, Cameron Hildreth, Davien Williamson and Tyree Appleby.

Williamson, who is 7-1 and Hildreth, are both sophomores from Great Britain. Williamson, a 6-0 grad student, followed Forbes down from East Tennessee State after he took the job. Carr is a transfer from Delaware who hit the game winner against Appalachian State, while Appleby is a 6-0 transfer from Florida.

Wake had a forgettable trip to Rutgers but Damari Monsanto had an excellent game, hitting 22 points and six three pointers off the bench.

He didn’t play against App State because Forbes was not happy with his effort (he should generally be considered a starter and will likely start against Duke).

Bobi Klintman, a 6-10 freshman from Sweden, and Zach Keller, a 6-10 freshman from Colorado, round out the rotation. Klintman isn't shooting well but he’s grabbing 5.3 boards in 21.9 mpg which isn’t bad. He’s averaging 6.6 ppg.

Keller isn’t shooting well at all - 36.8 percent overall and just 50 percent from the line, so it’s fair to say offense is not his strong point.

Losing LaRavia and Williams are tough to overcome, and Walton did pretty well in his short stint with the Deacons.

And Forbes, as we have seen at Wake and also ETSU, is a very good coach.

So what should we expect Tuesday?

Unless we miss our guess, we’re going to see a pissed off bunch of Deacs. No one likes losing like Wake lost at Rutgers - they basically got punked, punched in the face, however you’d like to put it - with four players having at least four turnovers. Rutgers out rebounded the Deacs 32-25 and Wake only got to the line nine times.

You can reasonably expect a much more aggressive approach Tuesday. And don’t forget that Wake took out Wisconsin on the road. The Badgers are not a Top Ten team at the moment, but they are very well coached and certainly dangerous. That win carries some weight. Georgia may too, thought it’s too early to be sure.

As far as Duke goes, we expect Jeremy Roach to play. He sat out the Maryland Eastern Shore game basically, we think, to let his toe rest. That game was on the 10th and while we don’t know how much rest or therapy he got before then, he’s had 10 days to recuperate and rehab. He's a gamer so we think he’ll be ready.

Dariq Whitehead and Dereck Lively should be moving along in their recoveries as well - both were injured earlier - so that’s possibly a plus.

However, exam breaks take a toll on continuity so it’s really hard to know what to expect collectively. Things could be ragged as they often are this time of year.

Like nearly every team Duke will see, Wake Forest has more experience and physical maturity than will the Blue Devils. But Duke brings a lot of talent. Aside from the aforementioned trio, Kyle Filipowski has excelled. Mark Mitchell is erratic offensively but has defended at a fairly high level. Tyrese Proctor is figuring things out rapidly and Ryan Young has proven to be a valuable transfer.

So has Jacob Grandison, who can certainly shoot, but he’s also a savvy, experienced player who can help steady his team. And Jaylen Blakes has proven to be an outstanding defender who can contribute offensively although not consistently yet.

We’d feel a lot better about this one if Roach were clearly 100 percent and Wake Forest hadn’t gotten embarrassed Saturday. But he may not be and they did, and they’re certainly going to try to prove a point against Duke.

In other words, this is likely to be a tremendous ACC game. Buckle up.

We’ll add more links as we find them.