Wake Forest's third season under Danny Manning will be remembered for its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2010 and for the strides made by sophomore big man John Collins (208-F-97)
Wake Forest finally returned to the NCAA Tournament. Now the challenge for the Demon Deacons is to stick around for a while once they get there.
It was a memorable turnaround season in Danny Manning's third year at the helm.
- Wake Forest made its first NCAA Tournament berth since 2010.
- Sophomore big man John Collins matured from a solid contributor to Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year candidate.
The run ended Tuesday night with a 95-88 loss to Kansas State in the First Four.
"All those lessons that we went through in non-conference helped us get to this point, helped us finish our ACC season strong, strong enough to get an opportunity to be a part of this," Manning said. "But still disappointing to not come away with the desired outcome that we wanted."
The biggest question now is whether it was also the last college game for the 6-foot-10 Collins, who declined to address his future plans immediately after the loss. He increased his scoring average by nearly 12 points per game this season, to 19.2, and had a late-season string of 12 straight games with at least 20 points.
If he returns, the Demon Deacons could enter next season in the upper half of arguably the nation's toughest conference. If Collins doesn't return, Wake Forest still should have enough offensive weapons that it would be reasonable to expect another tournament appearance.
Either way, they'll have to address the defense.
Wake Forest allowed at least 90 points in six games - all losses - and simply got outscored in a handful of games, most notably a 99-94 loss at then-No. 12 Duke in February. The Demon Deacons allowed Kansas State to shoot 66 percent - its highest percentage in 20 years - and make 81 percent of its 2-point attempts.
"We're a team that we need to get better defensively, rebounding the ball, staying in front of the basketball, and hopefully we can continue to be as efficient as we are offensively," Manning said. "But we know we've got to get better on the other side."
Only one of Wake Forest's top seven scorers - graduate transfer Austin Arians (8.5 ppg) - is a senior. Guards Bryant Crawford (16.2 ppg) and Keyshawn Woods (12.5) and stretch forward Dinos Mitoglou (8.9) shape up as some other top options from that group.
So, even if Collins turns pro, the Wake Forest program is in much better shape than it had been earlier in this decade.
The Demon Deacons' only winning season between 2010-11 and last year came in 2014 - when they finished 17-16 and then fired Jeff Bzdelik after the fourth season of his mostly unremarkable tenure at the school. They brought in Manning that offseason, and after going 13-19 in his first season and 11-20 last year, he led them to a 19-14 finish that was marked by an upset of No. 8 Louisville that helped put them in the tournament.
Now that they seem to be in position to get the tournament, the Demon Deacons need to win a few games there. Wake Forest has made it to the second weekend only once since Tim Duncan was on campus in the mid-1990s, and that was in 2004 in Chris Paul's next-to-last season.
"I'm proud of the effort that these young men have displayed time in and time over in practice," Manning said. "They've come in every day with great attitude, great energy, and we continued to improve throughout the season. And I think that's a testament to the desire and the character of the young men that we have in our program."
Walter Hodge selected the top Virgin Islander playing abroad in last week's games - 16 hours ago
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We bring you last week's top performances from Virgin Islanders who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level. This week's number one is an international point guard Walter Hodge (183-86). He led ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket to a victory over the league outsider Sluc Nancy in the French ProA in Tuesday night's game.
We bring you last week's top performances from Virgin Islanders who are playing abroad and who all have had prior experience of national team duties at youth or senior level.
#1. This week's number one is an international point guard Walter Hodge (183-86, college: Florida, currently plays in France). He led ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket to a victory over the league outsider Sluc Nancy (7-22) 85-77 in the French ProA in Tuesday night's game.
Hodge was MVP of the game. He scored 21 points and added 5 assists in 28 minutes on the court.
ASVEL Lyon-Villeurbanne Basket (15-14) is placed ninth in the ProA.
Hodge has relatively good stats this year: 13.3ppg, 1.8rpg, 5.7apg, 2FGP: 56.1%(88-157), 3FGP: 42.9% and FT: 79.5% in 29 games he played so far.
He has a dual citizenship: U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rican.
Hodge is currently a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands senior national team.
#2. Second place goes to an international forward Ivan Aska (201-90, college: Murray St., currently plays in Greece). He contributed to an easy victory against the closely-ranked Lavrio (11-15) 82-65 in the Greek A1 last Wednesday.
Aska recorded 13 points, 9 rebounds and 3 assists.
PAOK Thessaloniki (14-12) is placed fifth in the A1.
This season Aska has relatively solid stats: 10.8ppg, 4.5rpg, 2FGP: 51.9% and FT: 64.7%.
He is another player who holds two passports: U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rican.
Aska is in the roster of the U.S. Virgin Islands senior national team.
#3. The U.S. Virgin Islands player who performed third best last week abroad was an international center Frank Elegar (208-86, college: Drexel, currently plays in VTB United League). He could not help Enisey (13-11) to beat Khimki (19-5).
Elegar scored 7 points in 18 minutes.
The sixth-placed Enisey (13-11) was crushed 104-64 at home by the higher-ranked (#3) Khimki in the group A of VTB United League.
They ended the series of five consecutive victories.
There are only three games left until the end of the VTB United League Regular Season. So now every game will be critical.
It's Elegar's first season with the team.
He has reliable stats this year: 13.4ppg, 9.0rpg, 1.4apg, 1.1spg, 2FGP: 66.4%(91-137) and FT: 72.5% in 21 games.
Elegar has both U.S. Virgin Islands and Guyanese nationalities.
He is also a member of the U.S. Virgin Islands senior national team.
#4. Center Craig Williams (206-89, college: TCU, currently plays in Japan) was not able to help Orange Vikings (27-29) in their last game on Saturday. Despite Williams' good performance Orange Vikings (#4) were badly defeated 77-61 on the road by the leading Shimane Magic in the West group.
He scored 10 points, had 7 rebounds and made 2 blocks.
There are only four games left until the end of the Regular Season. So now every game is very crucial.
Williams' stats this season are: 13.3ppg, 8.3rpg and 1.6apg.
He is also U.S. Virgin Islands national team player.
#5. Former international forward Aaron Brown (196-92, college: Boston Coll., currently plays in Israel) was not able to secure a victory for Ironi Ramat Gan (4-22) in their game against Hapoel Afula (12-14) in the Israeli National League (second division).
Brown recorded only 4 points in 7 minutes on the court.
Ironi Ramat Gan (#6) was crushed 114-89 in Afula by the leading Hapoel in the Play-Downs group.
Brown has individually a very good year with high stats. He averages: 17.7ppg, 4.3rpg and 1.6apg in 14 games.
Brown used to play for the U.S. Virgin Islands national team
three years ago.
Other top U.S. Virgin Islands players, who play abroad:
SEATTLE - Game matchups for the 2017 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam were announced Tuesday by tournament directors. Eight men's and eight women's Division-I college basketball teams will compete in the 18th annual Paradise Jam held Nov. 17-25, 2017 at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands. The men's tournament, held Friday, Nov. 17 through Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, features Colorado, Drake, Drexel, Houston, Liberty, Mercer, Quinnipiac, and Wake Forest. Te... [read more]
SEATTLE - Game matchups for the 2017 U.S. Virgin Islands Paradise Jam were announced Tuesday by tournament directors. Eight men's and eight women's Division-I college basketball teams will compete in the 18th annual Paradise Jam held Nov. 17-25, 2017 at the University of the Virgin Islands in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The men's tournament, held Friday, Nov. 17 through Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, features Colorado, Drake, Drexel, Houston, Liberty, Mercer, Quinnipiac, and Wake Forest. Teams will compete in a bracket-style tournament over the four-day event.
Mercer will tip off against Liberty in the opening game of the 2017 men's Paradise Jam. Drexel and Houston face each other in the second game of the afternoon session, before Quinnipiac and Colorado compete in the first game of the evening session. Drake and Wake Forest will conclude opening-day action in the final matchup of the day.
Losing teams will compete in their second game the following day, Saturday, Nov. 18. Winning teams will have a one-day respite, before facing off in the semifinals, Sunday, Nov. 19. All teams will return to the UVI Sports and Fitness Center, Monday for the championship round. The seventh-place game will open the final day of competition, followed by the fourth-place game, third-place game, and championship game to crown the 2017 men's Paradise Jam champion.
The women's tournaments will take place Thursday, Nov. 23 through Saturday, Nov. 25, 2017. The tournament fields includes Butler, Drexel, George Washington, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. The women's tournaments feature two four-team divisions competing in round-robin play for separate tournament championships.
Butler, West Virginia, Drexel, and Virginia Tech will compete in the Paradise Jam Island Division. Vanderbilt, George Washington, Wisconsin, and Syracuse will compete in the Paradise Jam Reef Division.
The opening day of the Island Division will feature Butler vs. West Virginia and Drexel vs. Virginia Tech. Second-round matchups include West Virginia vs. Drexel and Virginia Tech vs. Butler on Nov. 24. In the final day of the Island Division on Nov. 25, the Bulldogs will face the Drexel Dragons and West Virginia will face the VT Hokies.
Vanderbilt and George Washington will tip off the women's Reef Division, Nov. 23, followed by Wisconsin vs. Syracuse. In second-day action George Washington will face the UW Badgers and Syracuse will face Vanderbilt. The 2017 Paradise Jam will conclude Nov. 25 with Vanderbilt vs. Wisconsin and George Washington vs. Syracuse.
Game times and viewing options will be announced at a later date.
The 2017 Paradise Jam features nine alumni teams, including four past Paradise Jam champions on the women's side. Five men's teams, including Drake, Drexel, Mercer, Quinnipiac, and Wake Forest, have previously competed at the Paradise Jam. Four women's teams, including Syracuse, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Wisconsin, have each previously competed and won the Paradise Jam.
The 19th Annual Sun Stroke All V.I. Hoop Classic kicks off Saturday, April 15, 2017. There will be a Celebrity Basketball game beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Ronald Charles Gym at St. Croix Central High School. There will be a Women's High School All Star game at 6:30 p.m. and a Men's High School All Star game beginning at 8:00 p.m. The Celebrity Game will be highlighted by Brandon Royal of this year's NBC The Voice, Paebak along with other Virgin Islands artists and media personalities. T... [read more]
The 19th Annual Sun Stroke All V.I. Hoop Classic kicks off Saturday, April 15, 2017. There will be a Celebrity Basketball game beginning at 5:00 p.m. in the Ronald Charles Gym at St. Croix Central High School. There will be a Women's High School All Star game at 6:30 p.m. and a Men's High School All Star game beginning at 8:00 p.m. The Celebrity Game will be highlighted by Brandon Royal of this year's NBC The Voice, Paebak along with other Virgin Islands artists and media personalities. The Special Guest of the evening will be the return of 2005 Pro Bowl Selection and Crucian Hanik Milligan. This tournament has been successfully used to showcase the best high school basketball players in the U.S. and British Virgin Islands since it's inception. This year Sun Stroke has solicited the services of Max Ivan of D1Nations from Arizona to provide professional evaluations of the players that could lead to scholarship opportunities. In addition to Saturday night's activities there will be an Open Run at noon in the presence of Mr. Max Ivany for talented underclassmen that were not selected to the All Star game and players just out of high school at noon. This emphasizes the purpose of the event which is to provide talented basketball players an opportunity for athletic scholarships. The event is also loads of fun so in that vein the Miami Heat Mascot Burnie will be performing and there will be giveaways from the tournament's primary sponsor Tim Duncan, the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat. This event has also highlighted the biggest names in VI music as well as the best basketball players in the territory. Two of the best young bands on St. Croix in Hypa Aktiv and In-Stylez will work together to entertain the crowd in the post game Jam Session that ends at midnight. The band that gets the crowd most involved gets a bonus. Admission for this event is $10. EVERYTHING is covered by the event organizers at no cost to the players and coaches. The event is sponsored in part by Tim Duncan, adidas, The Department of Education, Banco Popular, Bates Trucking, United Sporting Goods and Sun Stroke Promotions. This year's High School All Star selections include:
St. Croix Women's Selections Jendeyi Williams, St. Croix Central High Rashanika Williams, St. Croix Central High Jahnyra Donovan, St. Croix Central High Ah'Zyah Lake, St. Croix Central High Sydney Fleming, Good Hope Country Day Parissa Terrell, St. Croix Educational Complex Sedeja Fieulleteau, St. Croix Central High Shanyce Horsford, Educational Complex Breyanna Roberts, Educational Complex Shania Barnes, Central High Coached by: Head Coach Donald Bough, Central High
St. Thomas Women's Selections Jahnia Simmonds, Ivanna Eudora Kean High Nailea Nicolas, Ivanna Eudora Kean High Delma Baron, Ivanna Eudora Kean High Shauliqua Fahie, Elmore Stoutt High (Tortola) De'Jah Vigilant, Charlotte Amalie High Tecoya Martin, Ivanna Eudora Kean High Rhea Benjamin, Charlotte Amalie High Taylor Robinson, Antilles Replaced by Da'Jah Vigilante, Charlotte Amalie Taria Southwell, Charlotte Amalie High Laresha Martin, Eudora Kean
Coach Derek Heyliger, Eudora Kean St. CROIX Male Selections Shakeem Alcindor, Educational Complex Zion Jones, Central High Kahdeem Horsford, Educational Complex Ashoy Simmonds, Central High Christian Rassmussen, Good Hope Country Day Jakeem Auguste, Central High Diante Brooks, Good Hope Country Day Trejon Ali, Central High James Richardson, Educational Complex Darian Dowling, Home School Replaced by Kimani McIntosh, Central High
Coach Earl Baker, Good Hope Country Day St. THOMAS Male Selections Devon Freeman, Eudora Kean Akil Greig, Eudora Kean Dwayne Lynch, Charlotte Amalie Emari Howe, Eudora Kean Replaced by Terrell Lake, Charlotte Amalie Cam Newton, Antilles Clail Dieudonne, Charlotte Amalie Issa Tatem, Charlotte Amalie Lestin Wiltshire, Elmore Stoutt Ty Massaquoi, Gifft Hill Joshua Farell, Antilles Head Coach Boyd Todman, Charlotte Amalie
Rashidi Clenance Sun Stroke Promos/Win Mill Sports Bar
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