Commentary

Wake's path back to the top

Another year of experience should do wonders for Jeff Bzdelik's young Demon Deacons

Updated: June 2, 2011, 11:12 AM ET
By Jay Bilas | ESPN Insider
Jeff BzdelikAP Photo/Chuck BurtonThings did not go well for Wake Forest in Jeff Bzdelik's first season as coach.

Jeff Bzdelik is a very positive person. But, in a quiet moment, no matter how positive Bzdelik is, he had to be kicking himself just a little bit for leaving the Colorado Buffaloes to coach the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at the start of the 2010-11 season.

In Boulder, Bzdelik left a team with a potential NBA lottery pick (Alec Burks) and a seasoned senior scorer in the backcourt on a team that would go on to contend for an NCAA berth for a young, unproven squad in the ACC. When he took the Wake Forest job following Dino Gaudio's unceremonious dismissal (after Gaudio took Wake to the NCAA Tournament), nobody could have predicted just how close the Deacons were to the cliff. Bzdelik was able to convince all of Gaudio's committed recruits to stay, but he had to dismiss big man Tony Woods.

Essentially, Bzdelik was starting over at Wake Forest with a new team. Wake started off the 2010-11 season with a 6-4 record. Granted, the wins were against Hampton, Elon, Iowa, Marist, Holy Cross and UNC Greensboro, but they were wins. It was then that things got bad.

Jay Bilas

College Basketball analyst