Basketball moves on with returners and transfers

Wake Forest basketball fans can look forward to new talent coming next year


Christian Odjakjian, Staff Writer

Player movement has been difficult to keep track of in college basketball this spring. The NCAA is allowing players to transfer and play immediately without a waiver, and every collegiate athlete received a free year of eligibility thanks to COVID-19.

Many changes have taken place since the season ended almost two months ago, so the roster is now likely close to its final form. Assistant Coach Randolph Childress has stepped down, and eight players have left the program. Jahcobi Neath is transferring to Wisconsin, Ismael Massoud is headed to Kansas State, Quadry Adams will play for St. Bonaventure and Emmanuel Okpomo is going to Temple. Isaiah Wilkins, Jalen Johnson and Blake Buchanan still remain in the transfer portal, while Ian Dubose and Jonah Antonio are pursuing professional careers.

Here is a preview of what the 2021-22 roster looks like as of today:

Returning Players:

Isaiah Mucius — (6’8” Redshirt Jr. Forward): The longest-tenured player on this roster, Mucius will be the emotional leader of this team once again next season. The versatile, high-energy forward bumped his scoring average up to 10.3 points per game last year, chipping in 5.3 boards as well. Still oozing potential, Mucius could be an All-ACC caliber player next year if he can improve his three-point shooting.

Daivien Williamson — (6’2” Redshirt Jr. Guard): Williamson followed Forbes from ETSU to Wake Forest and was the most consistent scorer on the team last season. Averaging 12.9 points per game, the quick guard sliced through defenses and got to the basket better than anyone else on the roster. In the heartbreaking ACC tournament loss to Notre Dame, Williamson shot 5-5 from downtown. He should continue to be one of the best players on the team next season.

Carter Whitt — (6’4” Redshirt Fr. Guard):  Whitt will likely continue as a starter in the backcourt alongside Williamson next season. The Raleigh native was a high schooler in the fall and arrived on campus in December, and yet he played with lots of confidence when he was thrust into action. The crafty playmaker was very impressive at times, but bad decision making and poor defense displayed his youth. With some experience under his belt and some time to work on his strength, Whitt should be much improved heading into next season.

Ody Oguama — (6’9” Redshirt So. Forward): Oguama found himself in foul trouble frequently last season, meaning he wasn’t able to play as many minutes as the team needed him to. In 22 minutes per game, he averaged  7.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. He made big strides in his post game, and continued to be a solid defender and rebounder. Slightly undersized as a center, Oguama makes up for his stature with energy and aggression. Presumably, he will continue as a starter next season.

Tariq Ingraham — (6’9” Redshirt Fr. Forward): The big, explosive forward has been in Winston-Salem for two years, but has hardly been able to get onto the floor because of injuries. The “Big Microwave” will bring energy and rebounding to the frontcourt and likely play an important role off the bench.

Arriving this summer:

Damari Monsanto — (6’6” Redshirt Fr. Guard):  Monsanto is a great addition for the Deacs, whose stellar first season at ETSU earned him Southern Conference freshman of the year honors. Monsanto is reuniting with Forbes, who he redshirted under during the 2019-20 season. The talented scorer was among the national statistical leaders for freshmen, placing sixth in three-pointers and ninth in rebounds per game. He averaged 11.8 points per game and had a five-game stretch in conference play of scoring at least 20 points per game. Monsanto will likely be a starter or the first man off of the bench.

Dallas Walton — (7’0” Gr. Center):  Walton played his undergraduate ball at Colorado and won a game in the NCAA Tournament last season. The seven-footer averaged 6.5 points and 2.8 rebounds in 14.8 minutes per game. He should be a good fit in Forbes’ five-out system, as he shot the three ball very well for his size in the limited times that he let them fly.

Jake LaRavia — (6’9” R So. Forward): The Indiana State transfer is leaving his home state to come play in the ACC. He turned in a solid sophomore season, averaging 12.3 points and 6.3 rebounds per game in a solid mid-major conference — the Missouri Valley. LaRavia should be able to carve out an important role for Wake Forest with his balanced skillset of shooting, finishing and defense.

Cameron Hildreth — (6’4”  Fr. Guard):  If Hildreth wasn’t from Europe he probably wouldn’t be flying under the radar. The 18-year-old has been playing professionally in the British Basketball League for quite some time now. A skilled guard and a natural shooter with deep range, Hildreth is a bit of a wild card but a talent Demon Deacon fans should be very excited to watch develop.

Robert McCray — (6’4” Fr. Guard): A combo guard that can play either the one or the two,  McCray is ranked as the No. 39 shooting guard in his class by ESPN. The bouncy and athletic guard from Columbia, S.C. was Forbes’ first 2021 recruit.

Lucas Taylor — (6’6” Fr. Guard):  The former Clemson commit from Wake Forest, N.C. decided to come to Wake Forest in mid-April. ESPN’s No. 26 shooting guard, Taylor is an athletic wing who can shoot the ball from deep. In high school, he trained with and became good friends with soon-to-be teammate Carter Whitt.

Forbes and his staff still have two more scholarship spots open, so this roster could look even stronger come summertime. In year two at the helm, Forbes not only has a more talented group of players, but also a roster comprised almost entirely of players he recruited. Undoubtedly, better days are ahead for Wake Forest basketball.