Previewing Wake Forest

NC State hits the road tomorrow to face Wake Forest in the final regular season game of the season. Tip-off at Joel Coliseum is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. and here is a closer look at the Demon Deacons.

Roster & Bios

Projected Starters:
 4 Harvey Hale (6-2, 186, Fr.) – 6.3 ppg, 2.7 apg
 1 Justin Gray (6-2, 194, Sr.) – 18.4 ppg, 3.6 apg
33 Trent Strickland (6-5, 216, Sr.) - 12.6 ppg, 6.7 rpg
00 Chris Ellis (6-9, 267, Sr.) – 4.4 ppg, 4.1
31 Eric Williams (6-9, 280, Sr.) - 16.1 ppg, 8.7 rpg

Key Reserves:
55 Kyle Visser (6-11, 244, Jr.) – 5.3 ppg, 4.1 rpg
23 Kevin Swinton (6-7, 224, Fr.) – 2.7 ppg, 3.7 rpg
34 Michael Drum (6-6, 204, Jr.) – 5.2 ppg, 1.4 rpg
11 Cameron Stanley (6-6, 214, Fr.) – 2.3 ppg, 2.3 rpg
 2 Shamaine Dukes (6-1, 175, Fr.) – 1.2 ppg, 1.2 apg

Deacons Will Be The No. 12 Seed In The ACC Tournament
Wake Forest will be the No. 12 seed next week when the ACC Tournament begins at the Greensboro Coliseum.

The Demon Deacons will play the No. 5 seed, which could be any of a number of teams, Thursday at approximately 2:20 p.m. The winner of that game will face the No. 4 seed on Friday. Florida State (7-7), Virginia (7-7), Miami (7-7) and Maryland (6-8) are vying for the No. 5 seed. Duke will be the No. 1 seed. NC State, North Carolina and Boston College have also clinched first-round byes.

Deacons Hope To Be Cinderella At The ACC Tournament
When Wake Forest takes to the floor March 9 at the ACC Tournament in Greensboro, the Deacons will be in the unfamiliar role of having to win the tournament to get an NCAA Tournament bid. Wake has gone to the NCAA Tournament each of the previous five seasons despite advancing no further than the ACC Tournament semifinals. The Deacons have won the ACC Tournament four times -- 1961, 1962, 1995 and 1996. In each of those seasons, Wake Forest was seeded first or second.

While Wake has never won the ACC Tournament seeded lower than second, the Deacons have historically made plenty of noise in the tournament as a low seed:

  • In 1987, the No. 7 seeded Deacons stunned No. 2 seed Clemson in the opening round of the ACC Tournament in Landover, MD. Wake went on to lose in double-overtime in the semifinals to NC State.
  • In 1978, Wake Forest was seeded fifth out of seven teams in the ACC. The Deacons, however, beat Virginia in the opening round, then shocked No. 1 seed North Carolina in the semifinals. Wake lost to Duke in the championship game.
  • In 1973, seventh-seed Wake Forest pulled off one of the biggest first-round upsets in tournament history when it beat North Carolina in overtime.

    The Deacons On Senior Day And In Regular Season Finales
    Wake Forest has won seven of its last eight regular season finales, including a 6-1 mark against NC State. Wake's only blemish during that span was a loss to NC State in 2004. Wake Forest has won 11 of its last 13 Senior Day games (last home game). The Deacons beat Georgia Tech on Senior Day last season, 98-91. NC State spoiled Senior Day in 2004.

    Gray Leaving Mark On Record Books
    Justin Gray will leave Wake Forest with his name etched firmly in the Demon Deacon record books. When Gray's college career is over, he will rank among the top 10 all-time in Wake Forest history in at least nine different career categories. He is Wake's ninth-leading all-time scorer with 1,860 career points. Gray will also finish in the top 10 all-time in field goal attempts, free throws, three-point field goals, three-point attempts, assists, steals, games started and minutes played.

    Quick Player Updates
    Michael Drum -- Jr., G, 6-6, Rural Hall, NC The non-scholarship junior has started 10 times this season... played a season-low nine minutes and did not score at Boston College Tuesday... his free throw percentage is up to 80.4 percent and he hasn't missed from the line in more than a month (Jan. 24)... ranks third on the team with 22 three-pointers... has the best assist-to-turnover ratio on the team with 50 assists and 35 miscues.

    Shamaine Dukes -- Fr., G, 6-1, Cuthbert, GA His playing time has dwindled... played two minutes at BC Tuesday and three minutes with no stats last Saturday at Georgia Tech... started at the point five times earlier this season.

    Chris Ellis -- Sr., F, 6-9, Marietta, GA Came off the bench to play 19 minutes Tuesday at Boston College... did not attempt a field goal but went 5-of-6 from the free throw line and blocked one shot... in a scoring slump recently with just 25 points over the last 11 games... plays an average of 18.4 minutes per game... shooting 40.0 percent (16-of-40) from three-point range... has made more three-pointers this season than he did in his previous three seasons combined... ranks third on the team with 30 blocked shots.

    Justin Gray -- Sr., G, 6-2, Charlotte, NC The All-American candidate leads the team in scoring (18.4 ppg) and is averaging 19.9 ppg in ACC contests... has scored in double figures in 27 of his 28 games this season... held to 10 points, but dished out five assists and had one steal Tuesday at Boston College... did not play against Virginia Tech Jan. 28 because of a stomach virus... is the target of opposing defenses... leads the team in scoring, three-point field goals, free throws, free throw percentage and assists... scored a career-high 38 points at Maryland Jan. 15... his 38 points tied for the most by a Deacon player in the Skip Prosser era... his assists are up too, ranking fourth in the ACC in league games only... he is in elite Deacon company with more than 1,800 career points, 300 assists, 200 three-point field goals and 100 steals... going to the free throw line frequently -- he is 61-of-72 (.847) from the stripe since Jan. 11... he was named ACC Player of the Week Dec. 5, an honor he has earned three times in his career... his 37 points against Wisconsin Nov. 29 tied a Joel Coliseum record and an ACC/Big Ten Challenge record.

    Harvey Hale -- Fr., G, 6-2, Albuquerque, NM Has been a pleasant surprise for the Deacons and has emerged as a candidate for the ACC All-Freshman team... returned to the starting lineup Tuesday at Boston College... recorded eight points and four assists against the Eagles... has scored in double figures in six of his last 14 games... averaging 8.3 ppg in ACC play... has started 16 games... playing an average of 25 minutes in ACC games.

    Cameron Stanley -- r-Fr., F, 6-6, Raleigh, NC The southpaw is coming off a career-high 10 points at Boston College Tuesday... went 4-of-6 from the field, grabbed six rebounds, made a three-point field goal and blocked a shot against the Eagles... playing 14 minutes per game over the last five contests... seems to be playing more comfortably as his freshman season progresses... seeing limited but important minutes for the Deacons.

    Trent Strickland -- Sr., G-F, 6-5, East Flat Rock, NC One of the ACC's most improved players this season... led the team with 15 points and went 3-of-4 from three-point range Tuesday at Boston College... ranked 14th in the ACC in rebounding (6.7)... has 19 three-point field goals over the last 10 games and is 36-of-74 (.484) from behind the arc this season... has four double-doubles on the season... has doubled his scoring average from a year ago... ranks 20th in the ACC at 12.6 points per game... has five double-figure rebound games this season including 16 against Texas Tech on Nov. 18... has made 36 three-point field goals, compared to just 10 all of last season... playing an average of 32.6 minutes per game (compared to 16.9 last season)... named MVP of the 2k Classic Winston-Salem Regional... named ACC Player of the Week Nov. 14.

    Kevin Swinton -- Fr., F, 6-7, Greensboro, NC Came off the bench Tuesday at Boston College after starting the previous five games... played just eight minutes and had one point against the Eagles... gives the Deacons strength and athleticism in the paint... the freshman's numbers -- 2.7 ppg and 3.7 rpg -- don't accurately reflect how valuable he has been... struggles at the free throw line (40.9 percent), but has made four of his last six attempts.

    Kyle Visser -- Jr., C, 6-11, Grand Rapids, MI Made his first starting appearance since Jan. 15 Tuesday at Boston College... played 22 minutes, scored six points and dished out two assists against the Eagles... has not scored in double figures since Dec. 30... started the first 16 games of the season... played extremely well in November and early December, but has struggled since... Wake's leader in blocked shots with 37... made his only three-point attempt of the year, at Elon.

    Eric Williams -- Sr., C, 6-9, Wake Forest, NC Has scored in double figures in 46 of his last 47 games and in 25 straight contests... was plagued with foul trouble Tuesday night at Boston College but managed 10 points, five rebounds and a blocked shot... had a double-double with 24 points and 15 rebounds at Georgia Tech last Saturday... has eight double-doubles on the year including seven over his last 15 games... leads the ACC and ranks 11th nationally in field goal percentage (.616)... enjoyed a 22-point, career-high 20-rebound performance against Clemson Jan. 11... his 20 rebounds were the most by a player in the ACC this season, the most by a Deacon since 1997... has scored at least nine points in every game this season.

    Photo Gallery

    Williams ... Gray

    Visser ...Hale

    Strickland ... Ellis

    Wake Forest athletics contributed to this story.

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