Among the tasks ahead for new Wake Forest basketball coach Steve Forbes will be recruiting, not only of high school seniors but also the current Deacons roster.
Wake Forest signed four standouts, including two in-state prospects, to its 2020 recruiting class under former coach Danny Manning. Now the questions will be how many still want to play for Wake Forest under Forbes and where he might turn for more talent.
The 2020 recruiting class boasts Quadry Adams, a 6-foot-4 guard ranked within the top 15 standouts in New Jersey. The three-star prospect out of Bishop George Ahr listed Wake Forest in his top five programs with Boston University, Columbia, Georgia and Princeton.
Wake Forest also landed Marcus Watson of Chicago, a three-star prospect from Morgan Park, which was a No. 1 seed in the Illinois Class 3-A playoffs this season before the tournament's cancellation because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Efforts today to reach both players were unsuccessful.
But the Deacons will lose two of their incoming freshmen with the coaching change.
Jaylon Gibson, a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com, announced via Twitter this week that he formally requested a release from his national letter of intent. The 6-foot-11 forward out of Grace Christian in Raleigh was followed by Djimon Bailey, a 6-foot-5 guard from Wilson Greenfield, to announce he looked to reopen his recruitment.
Bailey, also a three-star prospect with offers from UNCG, Rice, Princeton, George Mason and Virginia Commonwealth, averaged 12 points, nine assists and seven rebounds last season.
Gibson told the News & Observer of Raleigh that a new coach didn't sway his decision to be released. He averaged 16 points and more than 11 rebounds in his senior season for the Eagles, who finished 21-12 and won the N.C. Independent Schools Athletic Association conference. Gibson, who is ranked No. 14 within his recruiting class in North Carolina, garnered 10 scholarship offers, including Providence, Cincinnati, East Carolina, Charlotte, Rutgers and South Florida.
“I’m happy for the coach that he gets to prove his leadership,” Gibson told the News & Observer. “I congratulate him, but I can’t see myself playing at Wake Forest with all the uncertainty. I’ve heard that several players have entered the transfer portal.”
As for the team already in place in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest lost six players to the NCAA's transfer portal — the latest Thursday being freshmen forwards Ismael Massoud and Ody Oguama, sources told Evan Daniels of 247Sports. Jahcobi Neath, who as a freshman had a the role of backup point guard to Brandon Childress, decided this week to enter the portal. Those three players will keep open the possibility of returning.
Rising senior Chaundee Brown left Wake Forest to enter the NBA Draft process but also to maintain eligibility and enter the transfer portal, listing Gonzaga, LSU, Illinois and Iowa State as possible destinations if he returns to college. Sophomore guard Sharone Wright Jr. and Michael Wynn entered the portal in March.