Danny Manning, the legendary college and professional basketball player, is taking on the challenge of rebuilding Wake Forest in his first year as its head coach.
But don't expect him to waste time building the Demon Deacons into a contender.
No, the same player who won the Naismith College Player of the Year award as a senior at Kansas won't accept mediocrity in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Even if Wake Forest has lost three players to transfer in the two-and-a-half months he's been on the job.
Each of them was expected to make an important contribution. Arnaud Adala Moto, lost to Towson, was a forward who had started for 11 games. Highly-touted point guard Shelton Mitchell is now headed for Vanderbilt. Finally, sophomore Tyler Cavanaugh, a regular starter, also left - without specifying where his next destination is.
But that's not eating away at Manning. He coached unheralded Tulsa to two winning seasons in his first two years heading a program. This Wake Forest challenge will be difficult, but not insurmountable.
“The program and system doesn’t change,” Manning said to the Winston Salem-Journal. “The expectations won’t change regardless of who we have in here. For us, we have our standards, and our standards are set extremely high, and we’ll continue to recruit and bring in young men to help us reach those standards and exceed them."
The team will play in the ultra-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference, where it finished 11th out of 15 teams, with a 17-16 (6-12 ACC) record.
Younger Rivers chooses to play for school near Doc
Spencer Rivers will be playing for the UC Irvine Anteaters this fall.
Spencer is the son of Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers and brother to New Orleans Pelicans guard Austin Rivers.
He's a bit small, even for a point guard, at 6-foot-2 and 165 pounds, but he led his 8A Winter Park (Fla.) High School basketball team to a state championship in his senior year. He also averaged a healthy 10 points and almost five assists per game.
His father, Doc, was a second-round draft pick by the NBA's Atlanta Hawks in 1983. He would go on to become an NBA All-Star in 1988 and coached the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2008.
Kentucky Wildcats...in the ACC?
This is an odd thought.
NBC Sports reported this week that Kentucky seriously considered joining the ACC in the 1990s, which would have put it in the same conference as a bevy of other top college programs. North Carolina, Duke, Georgia Tech, Maryland and now-Syracuse are all members.
Still, while it may have been a good basketball move, Kentucky won out in the end because it still benefits from the absurdly-high payouts the Southeastern Conference gives to its schools due to its lucrative TV deals.
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