Q&A: Coach Jeff Bzdelik

Taking over a basketball program like Wake Forest in the always tough ACC is a daunting challenge for anybody but after talking with new coach Jeff Bzdelik, you get the feeling he is ready and anxious to take it on...

Having been in the position for only a few weeks, it is hard not to feel some sympathy for the myriad of fires he has been going around to put out since accepting the position. The first priority was filling out his coaching staff, mission now accomplished. The second was securing the support of the current 6 returning scholarship players, done. The third was keeping the 5 commitments for 2010 firmed up, check and as to the next steps:

DeaconSports: What was your next priority coach?
Jeff Bzdelik: "I met with all the departing players to let them know I will always be there for them. When we talk about family here at Wake Forest, past present and future, it is indeed a family and the door is always open for them."

DS: What is next on the Bzdelik agenda?
JB: "2011 and 2012 recruiting which we feel good about. The staff here had done a tremendous job in identifying and communicating with many good prospects for the next several years and we will pick up where they left off."

DS: How has the reception for the Wake Forest community been to you and your family?
JB: Outstanding, and since I am currently undefeated, not surprising from the good folks who make up the fantastic Wake Forest family."

DS: How about the current players, what have you done there?
JB: "Just making sure they are working on the areas we feel they need improvement in. I think our guys will be a team who plays extremely hard and with passion and intelligence. Our guys will get better as we go along and I am very proud of the fact that at both Colorado and Air Force, our players improved every year. If each player improves then the wins and losses will take care of themselves."

DS: Getting back to recruiting for 2011 and 2012, how have you been received by recruits as the new coach at Wake Forest?
JB: "I guess that will be determined on signing day as that is truly the bottom line but overall it has been a very positive process for the limited time we have had. Wake Forest has an outstanding reputation academically as well as for what they present on the court playing in a conference that has 5 of the last 10 national championships. With coaches remaining on staff like Rusty Larue, who has a world championship ring and is an graduate of Wake, to go along with a very respected coach in Jeff Battle, who is as professional as they come, it makes it much easier for me to sell the Wake Forest name to kids who had already been made aware of it."

DS: Do you feel the kids in 2011 and beyond feel Wake Forest is a destination place they want to be?
JB: Without question! With the tradition here, the beautiful intimate campus, the exciting players already here, or soon to be here, and in a beautiful city like Winston-Salem, why wouldn't they want to come here?"

DS: Will there be an elite camp at Wake Forest this summer?
JB: "Oh yeah, definitely."

DS: What can Wake fans expect from the first Jeff Bzdelik Wake Forest team?
JB: "They can expect a competitive, spirited, together, unselfish team."

DS: Would it be fair to say that the scheme one plays is not as important as the players in that scheme?
JB: "Right. The players make the offense, the offense doesn't make the players. We will play a style that will please the fans at Wake Forest but not please our competitors."

DS: Thanks for your time Jeff.
JB: "Anytime Michael, glad to be here and to get the opportunity to talk with [the DeaconSports community] with true Wake Forest fans."

Demon Deacon Digest Top Stories