Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

Wake coach Danny Manning on Brandon Childress, Dinos, strength coach Ryan Horn

The final installment of Wake basketball coach Danny Manning's interview with the media prior to the Deacs opening night football game against Tulane.

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — The third and final installment of Wake Forest basketball coach Danny Manning’s question and answer session with the media from Thursday night at BB&T Field.

On how much of his father Brandon Childress has in him

Manning: “He’s got a lot. I say that because, for Brandon to make the decision to come to Wake Forest after what his father did here, says a lot about the kid. For him to come here and be confident enough in who he is as a young man and a player, to know he’s going to carve his own niche. I’m excited. I’m excited for him and for us that we have him. He’s going to be a really good player.”

On the significance of having brought together nearly all of this year’s roster himself

Manning: “We’re getting there. It’s a process. It doesn’t happen overnight, and if it does happen overnight you’re probably being really creative and that might bite you in the butt at some point and time. We like the direction we’re headed and we like our guys. We have to continue to build. One thing for us, our freshmen are very important to us. There’s different pockets you can recruit from. For us, we do it with freshmen and grad transfers. That’s kind of our niche right now. Our freshmen have to come in and take a big bite. They’re going to get knocked down, but they have to continue to get up and fight and get better each time out.”

On how deep he believes his rotation will be this season

Manning: “I don’t know. In a perfect world for us, we play 10 guys. We have three perimeter starters and two bigs, then you have to have somebody backing them up. In a perfect world, that would be good, but you never know. It will start shaking itself out. We’ll start the season out, and we’ll have some guys out there getting some extended minutes, and then it will tighten up once we get to conference play. But going to the Bahamas was sort of a disservice to some guys, because we played everybody, and not everybody deserved to play from a standpoint of having earned it. So we played three games, and everybody gets a chance to get out on the court. When the season rolls around, it’s not going to be like that. Don’t let this fool you.”

On if there were any guys or combination of guys he wanted to see on the court in the Bahamas

Manning: “I just wanted to see how our freshmen went out there and what they brought to the table, just in terms of being able to execute and the physicality. All freshmen go through an adjustment from high school ball to college ball. It’s just a different level of physicality. We had a chance to play against some grown men over there in the Bahamas — some older guys. They had all the old men tricks to them. They put our guys into tough situations. Whatever situation arose and whoever was out there, let’s figure out a way to get it done. Guys got a chance to play through a lot of mistakes in the Bahamas, which isn’t going to happen once we start playing for real.”

On if they had a coaching box over there, because I saw him wandering around a bit

Manning: “I wasn’t the only one wandering around. (laughs) It was just a unique situation. The people over there were extremely courteous and the hospitality was wonderful. A lot of the guys we played play on their national team and they’re guys that work a job and then they come play basketball. To me, that was a good eye-opener for some of our guys. They were some pretty good players. I thought that was good for our guys as well.”

On Sam Japhet-Mathias

Manning: “Sam is a sponge. He’s a big sponge and just wants to learn. He’s lost over 20 pounds since he’s been here, and he needed to lose it. He’s done a good job of locking in with (strength and conditioning) coach (Ryan) Horn. Sam is somebody that gives us a physical anchor presence. John (Collins) and Doral (Moore) give us a physical presence above the rim. Sam is going to give us that physical presence below the rim. In time, he’ll be above the rim as he gets some explosiveness and his body starts to change — as it will. But he’s not afraid of contact. He’s made John and Doral better just by his sheer presence on the court. He’s pretty nimble, to be honest. He got a soccer background and a soft touch. He finishes well around the basket with both hands. He’s somebody we’re excited about, also.”

On Dinos Mitoglou not playing in the Bahamas

Manning: “He made the trip and had a good time. I think it was a frustrating time for him, because he wanted to play and we didn’t let him. That’s what it came down to. We just didn’t want him to play. He’s a guy that has played in the past for his national team — this is the first break he’s had in four or five years. He’s played year round. His body has changed. He’s gained some weight. He came in at 219 his freshman year, and is probably at 250 right now. This summer did him a world of good, from both the physical and mental side of it.”

On Ryan Horn’s impact on the squad

Manning: “Have you seen John Collins? I think Horn does a great job. We’re thankfully he’s a part of our program and leading our performance staff. He’s very knowledgeable and has a passion for the kids. You can see that, and they work hard for him. They have a great relationship with him. The strength and conditioning coach — most of the players spend more time with him than any other staff, just because he gets them for six hours a week during the offseason when we only get them for two. That’s important for us, just him continuing to have the mentality we want to have in our program. He’s into it.”


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