The hire of Danny Manning was a huge splash for Wake Forest after the firing of former head coach Jeff Bzdelik, and it looks like Manning is already building on that positive momentum.
As this article from Russell Steinberg of SB Nation points out, Manning is doing a great job of winning in the place that matters most as he attempts to re-build the program – the recruiting trail.
Despite having yet to coach a game for the Demon Deacons, the former Kansas All-American player and Tulsa head coach has already secured three commitments for the class of 2015, and the prospects he’s continuing to pursue are a significant upgrade from the type of talent Bzdelik was bringing in to the program.
Doral Moore, Bryant Crawford and John Collins are all 4-star recruits in the 2015 class who’ve decided to attend Wake Forest, and they chose the Demon Deacons despite having offers from other schools like Kentucky, Illinois, Louisville, UConn, and many others.
And Manning is going after other recruits even more highly regarded than those three.
Wake Forest is in the running for Dennis Smith Jr., Harry Giles and Jayson Tatum, three of the top recruits in the class of 2016, and Manning’s pedigree and reputation is something that could play a role in landing top recruits who haven’t been considering Wake Forest for the past decade.
He’s taking advantage of the opportunity to present high school players with the possibility of receiving significant minutes as soon as they step on campus at Wake Forest. It’s one way to make a positive out of the fact that the roster he’s inherited doesn’t have much talent.
The Demon Deacons have been pushed around by the other Big 4 programs over the past few years, but it looks like those days are numbered with Manning now running the show in Winston-Salem.
It’s a program with a rich tradition that has a history of producing many great players who go on to NBA success. Now, Manning appears ready to lead the Deacons back to that place.