With one game left in Jeff Bzdelik's first season as Wake Forest head coach -- barring an upset of Boston College, a team the 8-23 Demon Deacons lost to by 16 points on Sunday -- he described it Monday as the "most challenging year in all my years of coaching."
Wake Forest became the first ACC teams to lose 15 conference games, and Bzdelik said the losses were the least of Wake's problems, starting with center Tony Woods' offseason arrest and dismissal from the team. It wasn't difficult to read between the lines and see major changes coming this summer.
"It’s been a very challenging year, to be quite frank," Bzdelik said. "A very challenging year. We had a lot of issues that had nothing to do with basketball. We had a lot of immaturity off the court -- the Tony Woods situation. We had some injuries -- Tony Chennault. We had a lot of growing up to do in a lot of ways.
"It’s been the most challenging year in all my years of coaching, to be quite frank with you. We’ve had a little resistence from some, to be quite frank, but we will straighten everything out and we’re headed down the right path. I'm very excited about our future. We have had a lot of bright spots, certainly some of the individuals we brought in have taken the coaching to improve their game. We'll make certain as we head forward that 100 percent of players on our team are into Wake Forest for all the right reasons."
Chennault's injury was really the big one for Wake Forest. The freshman point guard was expected to start from Day 1 but injured his foot and missed the entire preseason, then injured the same foot in Wake Forest's opener and missed more than two months.
Chennault still hasn't fully recovered, and the Deacons never did.
"Tony was really our only point guard in the program," Bzdelik said. "When he got hurt it really set us reeling. It really did. Now all of a sudden C.J. Harris has to adjust and he's never played point before. We had no depth there whatsoever. It really put us reeling in a lot of ways. That’s part of sports. We need to deal with it and we dealt with it as best we could."
Wake Forest and Boston College play the 2 p.m. game Thursday in Greensboro.