CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Wake Forest center Doral Moore showed great flashes in his freshman season, but had Demon Deac fans wanting more.
The 7-foot-1, 265-pound product from Locust Grove, Georgia finished the season averaging 3.8 points and 2.6 rebounds per game while primarily playing in three-to-five minute bursts.
But sometimes those bursts were fun. Moore finished strong around the basket with 32 of his 48 field goals last season coming via a dunk.
Wake Forest coach Danny Manning answered questions about Moore and a variety of other topics in this third installment of his press conference from ACC Operation Basketball.
On if fatigue set in on the team late last season
Manning: “Technology-wise, we’re one of the better teams in the country in terms of tracking our guys. Our guys are in shape. (Strength and conditioning) coach (Ryan) Horn does a wonderful job with them. That’s the least of my concerns. We keep data. Every workout we do. We know the workload their they’re under every practice, and I tailor our practices based upon those workloads.”
On if anyone came back from summer surprising him in terms of conditioning.
Manning: “Not necessarily, because we have them year round. I guess the biggest jump is usually from true freshman. Brandon Childress is the exception, because he’s around us, he knew what to expect and he was a part of our workouts, with his dad being on staff. But everybody else knows what to expect.”
On the transition of the new players learning the system
Manning: “A lot smoother this year, because of going to the Bahamas. We’ve had a chance to implement base offense and implement base defense. Then you go play those game. You come back and then you start school. For us, we’ve got a lot of things that are implemented that haven’t been implemented this early before solely because of the Bahamas trip. We’re excited about that.”
On bringing back basketball tradition to Winston-Salem
Manning: “First of all, I grew up in Greensboro, and that’s where Wake played all their home games when I was growing up. I got a chance to see them and watch them play quite a bit. They were the Triad’s team. That’s kind of what you want to get back to. You’re still going to have your blue-bloods and people are going to cheer for whoever, but for me it’s not so much the external piece, but the internal piece. We want to do what we need to do, continue to recruit the type of young men we need, and the rest will fall into place. You don’t take over a program and rebuild it in one year.
“Our model is based upon getting quality freshmen and having them play and develop throughout their career. That’s just the best model that works for us. Academically for us, we don’t accept junior college kids. Transfer kids are tough to get in the school, and the grad school kids have to get into grad school at Wake, which is one of the top-25 schools in the country. We know we’re going to get freshmen in here. We have to develop those guys, and it’s a process. It’s something you recognize going into it. To build it right, you have to build it from the ground up. We feel our foundation is set, and we’re excited about where we’re going. We’re excited about the guys we have. Eight of our 13 are freshmen or sophomores, so we’re going to have this group — pretty much 90 percent of our team is returning next year. That’s not writing off this year. We’re going to take some steps forward this year for sure. We like the direction we’re headed.”
On if the allure of returning ‘home’ brought him to Wake
Manning: “Returning to home where I spent the majority of my childhood? Absolutely. To go to a university like Wake Forest, that’s top-notch academically and you play in the best basketball conference too. To me, it’s a great package with no compromise. You get the best of both worlds academically and athletically. I thought it was a wonderful opportunity. I’m very fortunate and happy to get it.”
On the support in the city
Manning: “Very supportive. Extremely supportive. You can look at our attendance numbers, and we’re in the top-six in the league on average. I think we’re being supported very well, and that’s something we’re thankful for. We need to continue to grow and hopefully those number increase.”
On if the challenge was greater than he anticipated
Manning: “There are so many challenges that are out there that are just part of the job. When you take over a job, part of the reason is to coach the guys that are there, but when you get there, you have to re-recruit those guys. They look at you like, ‘you didn’t recruit me. You didn’t recruit me for this system.’ So you go through that, but then you’re also trying to actively recruit incoming kids. Then there’s the elephant in the room, with APR. A lot of times you get saddled with whatever number the school has. Wake Forest had a good number, but not good enough where you can walk in there and have a conversation with each individual that probably would have been a little different.
“I thought going into it that I wanted to give everybody on the roster a chance. I feel good about that, because that’s what we did. The process of the players we have now to where we started kind of weeded itself out so to speak.”
On building continuity
Manning: “I think it’s extremely important. The first year you take over a program, nobody knows. You have a coaching staff that might understand my philosophy and personality, but not every does in the system. Players aren’t able to help players out because they don’t know. Year two and three, for us now, we’ve got guys now who are able to say, ‘This is how we do things. We do this way, and we don’t do it that way.’ As you’re at a place for an extended period of time, you have guys that you are able to bring in newcomers and have them share that message. You want to foster a mentoring culture. You do that with continuity, but also with guys who become upperclassmen.”
On what he’s asking of the sophomores
Manning: “To play better than they did as freshmen. (laughs) That’s it. Then the next year, play better than they did as a sophomore. All those guys need to continue to improve and get better. I think you will see some significant improvement, especially from John (Collins) and Doral (Moore). Those guys had their moments last year, but now they’re going to have a chance to get extended minutes. They played behind a guy who averaged a double-double in ACC play. It’s tough to replace somebody who does that. We have our hands full in that category, but I like the number of guys we have. We have multiple guys now. We have size and length that we feel can help us be more competitive.”
On if Doral Moore will still primarily be used in three-to-five minute spurts
Manning: “Depends on him. When a guy is out there helping your team be successful and making good things happen, he gets longer, extended minutes. That’s not just for Doral, that’s for everybody. I’ve said that time and again. There’s no coach that feels any different. The league we play in, you have to bring it each time you step on the court. Not too many league games can you let guys play through multiple mistakes. You can’t afford to do it. That doesn’t matter what team you’re talking about. That’s something younger kids have a hard time grasping sometimes. The severity of every possession. As you get older and more mature in this conference, you start to understand that.”
On if Moore experience physical or mental fatigue playing longer stretches
Manning: “It’s only natural that you get fatigued to a certain extent, but Doral passed our running test like everyone else. Certain guys have certain thresholds for pain and being able to push through different things, and certain thresholds for speed that they can play at for lengths of time. I think Doral is just a big guy who is talented and active. But most of the time, he’s not as tired as he looks. I know that because of the data we keep. We have GPS monitors that they wear. I can look at his heart rate anytime I want to. If it’s in the red, then I know we have an issue.”
On if he ever disputes the reading
Manning: “There’s nothing to dispute. You can’t dispute the numbers. The data is right there. Red - take a break. Yellow or green - you’re good to go. It’s right there. There’s no hiding. That’s something to me that’s very serious, because at my first job at Tulsa, we had a player die. Our trainers revived him. He never played for us at Tulsa. Ends up graduating and making six-figures. As coaches, we have to have safety measure to ensure the safety and well-being of our guys are being taken care of. It’s one thing for us to put them through drills, have our trainers and strength and conditioning coach there, but they do a lot of stuff on their own. I wanted to have more safety measure in place, and feel like we have that now with the technology we have in our system.”