Duke is bringing in the top three best recruits in the country all at once, North Carolina already having three five-stars committed, and solid programs like Notre Dame and Syracuse are bringing five-star talents on their own. The ACC is proving to be, once again, one of the best and hardest college basketball conferences next year. With that in mind, where do the Demon Deacons stand with their next recruiting class?
After a trip to last year’s March Madness, expectations were quite high for the Demon Deacons. Even with the departure of John Collins to the NBA, many thought this team could be playing at the NCAA tournament once again come March. However, this season has so far been unexpected even for some very pessimistic fans. In spite of the basketball team’s performance this season, Wake Forest is bringing one of the best recruiting classes in school history and even looking to possibly add another piece before everything is said and done.
Currently, Wake Forest sits as the fourth-best incoming class in the ACC according to 247sports only behind Duke, North Carolina and Notre Dame. Wake Forest’s class is composed of five-star recruit Jaylen Hoard, four-star recruits Isaiah Mucius and Jamie Lewis, and three-star Sharone Wright Jr. Hoard. Hoard leads the group ranking as the 28th-best recruit in the nation according to the 247sports composite rankings. Both 247sports and ESPN have Hoard rated as the sixth-best small forward in the nation. Hoard had offers from Kansas, Oklahoma State, Providence and Washington before committing to Wake Forest. Joining Hoard at the forward position is Isaiah Mucius who is rated as a four-star player offered by big programs like Xavier and UConn before committing to Wake last year. Both players are very versatile with similar frames and the ability to play both forward positions. It will be interesting to see how Danny Manning will build his lineup with them, but both are expected to be day-one big contributors.
Jamie Lewis is the most recent acquisition of the team at the guard position. Lewis was originally ranked as high as the 22nd-best recruit in the nation in 2016 according to 247sports, which earned him offers from Kansas, Florida, NC State and a few others, before injuries dropped him down in the rankings. Lewis has prototypical size for a guard standing at 6-3 and weighing 190. Lewis possesses great ball-handling skills and, when healthy, can be one of the best-scoring guards in the country. Rounding out the guard position, Hoard has great size at 6-5, one of the tallest guards Wake has had in recent history, which might come in handy to improve Wake Forest’s porous perimeter defense.
With four commits for the 2018 class, Wake Forest is currently one scholarship above the limit for next season, which is generally not a big issue because of the imminent situation of a player turning professional earlier. However, what is interesting is that Danny Manning recently offered All-American and recent Auburn decommit E.J Montgomery, which would put Manning two scholarships above the limit. As of late, Wake Forest made the list of Montgomery’s top 11 schools and the Power Forward is expected to cut the list down to five in the next few weeks.
The chances of Wake Forest landing Montgomery are small due to the interest of blue blood programs like Duke, North Carolina and Kentucky on the five-star. However, if Wake does make the final list or even get a commit from the skilled big, Danny Manning and his stuff would be getting a huge commitment and possibly their best recruit since Al-Farouq Aminu (ninth-overall recruit at the time).
Duke seems to be the front-runner for Montgomery so far, which is a scary proposition considering the amount of talent that Duke is already recruiting. Nonetheless, Montgomery’s recruitment process is still fairly early, and a lot can happen before the next signing period. The Old Gold & Black will provide more information as Montgomery approaches his decision and the 2018 recruiting cycle reaches its climax.