WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Sophomores Bryant Crawford and John Collins are the straws the stir the drink that is Wake Forest basketball this season.
Collins is a definite ACC Player of the Year candidate, averaging 18.5 points and 9.4 rebounds a game. He’s scored more than 20 points in his last nine contests.
Crawford is second in the ACC is assists at 5.6 per game and is sixth in assist-to-turnover ratio at 2.2.
There may be no better barometer for a Wake Forest win (or loss) than Crawford’s assist-to-turnover ratio.
In Wake’s 15 wins, Crawford has a total of 98 assists to 22 turnovers, a 4.45 ratio. If fact, in 11 of those 15 wins, Crawford had one turnover or less.
Crawford has just 47 assists against 43 turnovers in the Deacs 11 losses, a meager 1.09 ratio.
“I don’t think it’s just Bryant, it’s the whole team. If you go back and look at our losses, there’s a lot of things we could do better that we do better in wins,” Wake Forest coach Danny Manning said Friday before practice. “He’s a focal point in terms of being a leader. He’s got the ball in his hands a majority of the time, but a lot of it has to do with our team defense as well. I don’t think our team defense is as good in our losses as our wins.”
The Deacs are 0-4 when Crawford has more turnovers than assists.
“If you’d ask Bryant, I’m sure he’d say he could always play better, especially in the losses,” Manning said.
Some turnovers in losses come from Crawford trying to force the action as the Deacs try to mount a late comeback.
“You could say that at times. There are times in every ballgame that you have to force the issue,” Manning said. “The one thing we know and love about Bryant, is that he’s not afraid of that. He’s going to go out there and do whatever he feels he has to do to be successful.”