Thursday marked the second open media practice of the season for the Wake Forest men’s basketball team. Here are some of my takeaways along with a few quotes from head coach Steve Forbes.
Damari Monsanto may be the best 1-on-1 player on the team
No one could stop him during live drills — his handle on the ball looked sharp and he shot it well from not only from deep, but from mid-range as well. He also threw down a monster windmill during the live scrimmage period.
“He’s a talented player,” Forbes said. “There’s no doubt about it. He knows what I expect and I’ve been very pleased with him in the fall, he’s had one of the better falls of all of our players.”
READ: Takeaways from Wake Forest’s First Open Basketball Practice
Cameron Hildreth returned to action
After missing some time with an injury, Hildreth got back in the swing of things and had a solid day. The sophomore guard shot it well from three, something he struggled with last year (.28 3P%) and had some nice finishes around the basket during live drills.
“He’s been solid,” Forbes said. “He’s really not had a bad day. Last year I think he was an emotional rollercoaster. This year he’s not been that way. He’s steady, you can count on him.”
Andrew Carr, Tyree Appleby, and Davion Bradford all didn’t practice
Carr had a boot on his right foot but said the injury was “nothing serious”. Forbes confirmed that Bradford felt under the weather. He mentioned that Appleby’s injury wasn’t serious either, just referring to the team as “banged up.”
WATCH: 1-on-1 with Andrew Carr
Bobi Klintman continues to impress
The freshman from Sweden had a powerful chase-down block on Hildreth during a 3-on-3 half court drill and tallied 11 points, 9 rebounds and 5 assists during one of the team’s recent intra-squad scrimmages, per Forbes.
“Bobi’s a stat stuffer,” Forbes said. “He’s shooting it at a high clip. He’s got a high basketball IQ. It’s gonna take some time, but I like where he’s at right now. He’ll definitely play.”
Jao Ituka has also stood out so far
He can get into the paint with ease, shoots it well from three and has active hands on defense. The fact that Forbes named him a captain as a sophomore transfer shows he’ll play a large role on the team this season.
“He’s a tremendous young man,” Forbes said. “He’s coachable. He’s a hard worker. Smart kid, I like having him.”
Other standouts from the recent Saturday scrimmage included Carr (18 points), Monsanto (22 points), and Daivien Williamson (22 points).
Forbes and the team were working at installing a 2-2-1 press
With so many quick guards on the roster, I could see the Deacs wreaking havoc with some full court pressure.
“I think it’s something we need to have,” Forbes said of the press. “It’s like a pitcher — you gotta mix it up, you can’t just throw fastballs.”
Forbes said that toughness is one of his biggest concerns about this group
“We have a young team,” he said. “We’re in the grind now, I’m turning up the heat. When adversity hits, how resilient are you going to be to fight through it?”
The season opener is just 28 days away.
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