CHARLOTTE -- Jeff Bzdelik hasn’t been at Wake Forest very long, but he has made one big change to the way the Demon Deacons play already. In addition to abandoning Dino Gaudio’s pack-line defense in favor of a more aggressive, attacking scheme, he has moved sophomore C.J. Harris from shooting guard to point guard in the wake of Ish Smith’s departure.
As a freshman, Harris was one of the ACC’s biggest surprises, averaging 9.9 points in almost 28 minutes per game while giving the Deacons a consistent outside shooting threat. He didn’t have to handle the ball much with Smith on the court, so the new role puts Harris in somewhat uncharted waters.
“I’m going to have the ball in my hands a lot more than last year,” Harris said. “It’s a challenge to lead the team and be a leader on the court.”
Gaudio recruited freshman point guard Tony Chennault to fill that void, but Harris said Wednesday during the ACC's basketball media day that he has been practicing at that position. That may open up space at shooting guard for a different freshman, West Charlotte’s J.T. Terrell.
There is, of course, a long history of dynamic point guards at Wake Forest, including Smith, Jeff Teague and Chris Paul and going back to Randolph Childress and Muggsy Bogues. Harris admitted there’s some pressure trying to fill those particular shoes.
“I just have to stay within myself,” Harris said. “I don’t have to do what Ish did or Jeff did before that. I know what I can do, and what coach Bzdelik instructions are to do. … It’s definitely motivation, to try to get where those guys got in college and to where they are now. It’s definitely inspiration.”