Former Colorado Coach Takes Over At Wake Forest
In his three years at Colorado, Jeff Bzdelik has compiled a 36-48, but is seen as a good enough candidate to replace Wake Forest's Dino Gaudio, who was fired last week. As the head coach of the Buffaloes, Bzdelik has had an RPI of 162, 233 and then 123 this past season when the Buffs compiled a 15-16 record. But looking a little deeper, he led a team that was predicted to come in last place in the ultra-competitive Big 12 for the 2nd straight year, to a 6-10 conference record, compared to last season's 1-15 disaster. What a huge improvement that was for the Colorado program. Perhaps it was that the players were another year older and another older or maybe it was just another year in Bzdelik's system, the Buffaloes had a remarkable turnaround.
Bzdelik has spent much of his coaching career in the NBA, including a head coaching stint with the Denver Nuggets and almost did not return to Boulder this past season after flirting with becoming a Minnesota Timberwolves' assistant. Instead, the Bzdelik-led Colorado team featured a potent attack featuring junior guard Cory Higgins and freshman Alec Burks, both whom were recruited by the head coach. In fact, Higgins and Burks were two of the top scorers in the Big 12, and the highest scoring tandem in the conference.
Bzdelik will have to hit the recruiting trail hard this summer as four of his top six scorers will not be returning to school in the fall. However, former head coach Gaudio has done a significant amount of work for Bzdelik as Wake Forest already has one of the top recruiting classes for 2010; Four top 100 players have already signed with the Demon Deacons, led by guard J.T. Terrell, wing Travis McKie, and big men Carson Desrosiers and Melvin Tabb.
Left on the roster are freshmen swingman, C.J. Harris and Ari Stewart, two talented scorers in the mold of Higgins and Burks. One of the top frontcourt recruits from the 2008 high school class, Tony Woods, will likely see a significant increase in minutes this coming season with Al-Farouq Aminu leaving for the NBA and Chas McFarland graduating.
Albeit a young roster, there are talented players in Winston-Salem, ones that Jeff Bzdelik can surely teach and develop and bring Wake Forest back to the national power it once was.
By Corey Ruff - President - 4-14-10