Wake looking to take next step with Manning’s foundation in place

When Danny Manning coached his first game for Wake Forest in 2014, his roster was a hodge-podge of players he inherited mixed with a few last-minute additions. They certainly weren’t talented enough to compete in the ACC.

Several of former coach Jeff Bzdelik’s players had transferred, and the top-rated recruit — Shelton Mitchell — decommitted and signed with Vanderbilt. The only prospect Manning inherited was Rondale Watson, who wasn’t ranked by most recruiting services.

Manning added a graduate transfer from Campbell in Darius Leonard, along with his former Tulsa recruit Mitchell Wilbekin. He landed a little-known Greek player in Dinos Mitoglou and a talented, but raw, Cornelius Hudson. It was patchwork at best.

At the heart of that roster were two immovable objects — players who had started nearly every game since they arrived on campus two years earlier: Codi Miller-McIntyre and Devin Thomas. Both were talented — but also deeply flawed — players who would define Manning’s first two seasons.

Entering his third season in Winston-Salem, Manning has finally remade the roster. Only two holdovers from the Bzdelik era remain — Greg McClinton and former walk-on Trent VanHorn. While this group is not going to compete for an ACC title, Manning’s stamp is finally on its identity and its personality.

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