DePaul vs. Wake Forest Game Preview's Mike Whiteside & Scott Phillips preview Wednesday's game between the Wake Forest Demon Deacons and the DePaul Blue Demons in Rosemont, Illinois. The preview also includes DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright's take on the Demon Deacons and his young freshman.

Key Information

DePaul Blue Demons vs. Wake Forest Demon Deacons – Wednesday, December 13, 2006 – 8:00 p.m. CST – Allstate Arena – Rosemont, Illinois

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Game Preview - Demon Deacons Looking for Payback vs. DePaul

It was exactly a year ago to the day (December 13, 2005) that then first-year DePaul head coach Jerry Wainwright and his unheralded DePaul Blue Demons team went into the Lawrence Joel Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and emerged with an impressive 84-81 victory to break the 16th-ranked Demon Deacons' 21-game home-court winning streak in front of a national television audience.

The Demon Deacons entered that contest with a 7-1 record, with their only previous setback coming at the hands of the eventual national champion Florida Gators.

Unfortunately for Coach Skip Prosser's Wake Forest squad, that stunning loss would prove to be a harbinger of things to come, as the Demon Deacons were attempting to make the difficult adjustment to life without All-American point guard, Chris Paul, who departed school early and was selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the fourth pick in the 2005 NBA draft.

The Demon Deacons would go on to a highly uncharacteristic last-place finish in the 12-team Atlantic Coast Conference, posting a dismal league mark of 3-13.

So, as Wake Forest comes into this year's rematch with DePaul looking for revenge, the Demon Deacons do so with a roster that barely resembles the team that was upset by the Blue Demons a year earlier. Gone are Wake's top four scorers from last year's group, including seniors Justin Gray (18.2 ppg), Eric Williams (16.3 ppg), and Trent Stickland (11.6 ppg).

This year's unit features no less than 11 freshmen and sophomores who have logged minutes so far this season en route to compiling a 5-2 record in the early portion of the non-conference slate. In fact, the Wake Forest roster includes only two seniors (Kyle Visser and walk-on Michael Drum) and no juniors.

Visser, a 6-11 center, leads four Demon Deacons players who score in double figures, with an average of 19.7 ppg while shooting a scorching 71.2% from the field. Visser also leads the team in rebounding, pulling down 8.9 caroms per outing.

Understandably, Wainwright expects Visser to be a force to be reckoned with. "He gets a lot of baskets, he's a great finisher around the basket, and they do a great job of setting him up. He gets a lot of baskets on penetration, and he's a big ole youngster now. He's a big strong kid and he gets many offensive boards. I think you have to stop the ball from getting to him."

"The biggest part of this game will be containing their point guard,"said Wainwright. "They got a young point guard who's very fast and pushes the ball, and he gets shots for other guys. I thought we did a really good job Saturday stopping 3-point shooting. I mean the team shot 31% against us, and we stopped Delaney, who's a very good guard, from helping other teammates. I think he had two or three assists, but he had big numbers scoring. We have to control the ball a little bit more. If the ball is moved quickly, Kyle Visser is going to score and we can't let that happen."

Others scoring in double digits for Wake include 5-11 freshman guard, Ishmael Smith (11.4 ppg), 6-2 sophomore guard Harvey Hale (10.4 ppg), and 6-8 freshman forward Jamie Skeen (10.0 ppg).

After winning their first five games of the season, the Demon Deacons are currently riding a two-game losing streak coming off of a 94-58 drubbing at the hands of Air Force and a narrow 87-86 loss to the Georgia Bulldogs.

However, Prosser has had plenty of time to get his team ready to take on DePaul, as his Demon Deacons have been idle since December 2nd. This fact has not gone unnoticed by Wainwright.

"I don't know where their finals fit in," said Wainwright. "They've had some time off since their last game. If they can figure out what we're doing, god bless them. We've played pretty well at home, and hopefully we can continue that (Wednesday) night."

"I think they're coming off a loss," Wainwright went on to say. "I think last year, if I remember correctly, they were ranked. I think they were just getting used to life without Chris Paul. All the sudden things came crashing down upon them--you lose a guard of that quality. I think last year's game was a completely different circumstance. I think this year there's so many young players playing for them, I think they're probably excited about every game. I think this is only their third or fourth road game, so I'm sure the layoff has probably helped them more than hurt them."

The Freshmen

Wainwright also took time out to talk about his two freshmen – Thijin Moses & Will Walker

Coach, both of your freshmen were in for the final free throw and the last shot vs. UAB. Is your confidence in them improving?

"Thijin's a ways away, but I'll tell you this, as soon as he comes in the game everybody yells, ‘shooter'. He's taken advantage of his opportunities; at least they know who he is. Will Walker is getting better every game. We ran that play for him to tie the game, and he didn't even flinch. He got a great screen from Wilson Chandler, and a very good pass from Sam Mejia and he stuck that thing right down there. He made a very good shot in overtime to put us up two. He's a confident kid and he's getting minutes. Like any freshman where he's got to improve is on the other end. There's a lot of things coming at him and all the sudden he's playing a 23 year old junior college senior in Delaney. It's kinda like what happened to Jabari last year, OK well you got Randy Foye, have a nice day. You know those are tough lessons for young kids to learn. He's come along. He's the least of our worries right now. He's doing well.

Historical Notes

Blue Demons center Wesley Green's father - Kenny Green played for Wake Forest in the 1980's. Wesley's godfather is Delaney Rudd who was Kenny's teammate at Wake. Both names may be familiar to Blue Demons fans.

In the second round of the NCAA tournament in 1984, in what would be legendary DePaul coach Ray Meyer's final game, Rudd hit a shot at the buzzer in regulation that tied the game and sent it to overtime where the Demon Deacons scored a 73-71 victory over DePaul.

DePaul coach Jerry Wainwright spent nine years as an assistant coach at Wake Forest. Under Bob Staak (1986-89) and Dave Odom (1989-94), he learned all about the ACC. Wainwright assisted in recruiting NBA draft picks Chris King (Seattle), Rodney Rogers (Denver), Randolph Childress (Detroit) and Tim Duncan (San Antonio) while at Wake.

Wake Forest Roster

No. Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown High School

2 Shamaine Dukes Guard 6-1 175 SO Cuthbert, GA Randolph-Clay HS

4 Harvey Hale Guard 6-2 186 SO Albuquerque, NM Rio Grande HS

10 Ishmael Smith Guard 5-11 155 FR Concord, NC Central Cabarrus

11 Cameron Stanley Forward 6-6 214 SO Raleigh, NC Millbrook HS

13 Chas McFarland Center 7-0 235 FR Lovington, IL Worcester (MA) Academy

20 Mike Lepore Guard 6-1 165 SO Flemington, NJ Lawrenceville Prep

23 Kevin Swinton Forward 6-7 224 SO Greensboro, NC Dudley HS

30 Matt Smith Guard 6-2 185 SO Advance, NC Davie County HS

31 Jamie Skeen Forward 6-8 220 FR Charlotte, NC North Mecklenburg

33 Anthony Gurley Guard 6-3 185 FR Boston, MA Newton North

34 Michael Drum Forward 6-6 204 SR Rural Hall, NC North Forsyth

42 L.D. Williams Guard 6-4 210 FR Yadkinville, NC Monteverde (FL) Academy

44 David Weaver Forward-Center 6-10 224 RS FR Black Mountain, NC Owen HS

45 Casey Crawford Forward 6-9 225 FR Overland Park, KS Blue Valley North

52 Bobby Hoekstra Forward 6-7 225 SO Lewisville, NC Forsyth Country Day

55 Kyle Visser Center 6-11 255 SR Grand Rapids, MI Forest Hills Central HS


Skip Prosser - Head Coach

Jeff Battle - Associate Head Coach

Dino Gaudio - Associate Head Coach

Pat Kelsey - Assistant Coach

Mike Muse - Director of Basketball Operations

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