Unlike football season where there's an entire week to celebrate or lament, basketball season is a 3-4 day adventure where the team can be world beaters and chicken gizzards and back to world beaters in a 72 hour span. I spoke with Martin Rickman of the Wake Forest community Blogger So Dear in an effort to find out what makes a Wake Forest blog tick. Oh and he asked me about hoops, too. Here is our exchange:
Martin @ BSD: I owe you guys better than a "no comment." The last I was told, Blogger So Dear is no longer recognized as an official media outlet by Wake Forest Media Relations. To my knowledge, that has not changed.
Would I have liked things to go down a little differently? Yes.
Did I learn something from the ordeal? Yes. A lot.
Do I still respect and wish to work with the athletic department again? Sure. But, I said what I needed to say in April, and I am not backing down from some of those things. We never took an official stance on the site. Rather, my staff was monitored on the Scout message board (where we acted as fans), and it was believed that we would be a disturbance if we sent a representative to the press conference.
Was I blind-sided by the Jeff Bzdelik hiring two days after being told that the process would be well-considered and that post-season performance would be taken into consideration? Big time.
Did I have unreal expectations about who our new coach would be after being the only program to fire their coach after winning an NCAA Tournament game in 2010? I didn't think that at the time, but I guess so.
Did we lash out, as fans mind you, in ways that weren't exactly "Associated Press friendly" and did we have a little fun at Coach Bzdelik's expense at the time as a coping mechanism? Yes, and again, it might not have been in good taste. But it was not on our site. It was under usernames on the Scout forums. And for the most part, at least from my posts, there were equal parts jokes and critical analysis. I remember one post that I spent half an hour writing, comparing potential candidates and Coach Bzdelik's resumés. There was nothing slanderous or mean-spirited in that post whatsoever.
Furthermore, as a result, certain things were inferred about my "intent" and my "true motives" by the athletic department that were not only incorrect and unprofessional, but disrespectful to me as a blogger, as a journalist, as a Wake grad, as a person. I'm stung to this day. I almost quit blogging altogether. That's not being melodramatic. It really isn't. That weekend has had a deep, painful effect on me, and I really haven't been the same since. But what's done is done. Time heals all, right?
FTRS: Speaking of Coach Bzdelik, how long will he be the head coach of Wake Forest? Is he the guy or is his recruiting philosophy off track for an ACC-calibre program?
Martin @ BSD: Who knows? I said it when the hire happened, and my mindset has not changed. I did not think this was the right hire. Can he succeed? Maybe. I really don't know. I didn't know then, and I don't know now. I wish Coach Bzdelik success, as by all accounts he is a good guy. He's Wake's head coach; and I want the best for the team.
What I do know is that he's 58, he's never won an NCAA Tournament game, he's never recruited at a high level on a regular basis, and he's never shown long-term commitment to a program. You can make your own judgment based on that.
FTRS: Let's talk playmakers. GT has some semi-pseudo-esque-playmakers. Who are Wake's most talented players in the 2010-2011 season?
Martin @ BSD: Most talented, or most effective? I guess you asked talent, so I'll go from there. First and foremost, Wake's BEST player in 2010-11 has been Travis McKie. The super freshman has been one of the five best freshmen in the ACC this year, and I mean that wholeheartedly, and not just because he has been forced to play bigtime minutes. He is well-rounded, has all the heart in the world, and says and does all the right things. He rebounds, hits his shots, boxes out his guy on defense, can run the break and is extremely gifted with the basketball.
From there, JT Terrell is boom-or-bust out there--he can miss five straight shots off the side of the backboard and turn it over four times in two minutes, or he can hit five straight shots and get a steal with a thunderous dunk. What you get is a coinflip from him. CJ Harris and Ari Stewart still have the ability to go off, and Gary Clark has been hitting a ridiculous percentage of his three-pointers, but has been largely shut down the last few games.
All in all, the lack of playmakers for the Demon Deacons has been startling, though, and a real hole as compared to the last few years.
FTRS: Georgia Tech has little to no frontcourt presence (true big men are averaging 11 points/game combined in 2010-2011). How is Wake's low post game?
Wake's low post game is almost non-existent unless Wake has Travis McKie "playing" the 4. Carson Desrosiers has been improving, but is not a true offensive threat yet. Nikita Mescheriakov is a fouling machine and can't stay on the court. Ty Walker has not earned minutes. Melvin Tabb has been inconsistent. Wake's needs big men in the worst way.
FTRS: GT is 1-2 in conference play and Wake is 0-3. What's your predicted finish for Wake Forest in the 2010-2011 ACC season?
Martin @ BSD: I think Wake steals one or two games if they're lucky. I'm not much more confident than that. The over/under is 1.5 and I'll take the under (one) until I can see some actual progress on the court.
FTRS: The only common opponent thus far between Wake and GT was Richmond. Tech handled the Spiders in ATL while Wake struggled to put the ball in the ocean in a 16 point loss. Should Tech be a heavy favorite on Wednesday night?
Martin @ BSD: Yes. Wake got manhandled by Maryland and dismantled by VT. Even though you're extremely guard-oriented like the Deacs are, you're still a much better rebounding team than Wake. Unless Pauly H completely biffs it, this game is GT's to lose. I've got GT -12.
Thanks goes out to Martin and the Bloggers So Dear. I'm not totally sure if he wanted us to publish all of his WFAA story but I found it incredibly interesting. Cheers! Go Jackets!