ACC's Top-25 Players: No. 20 – C.J. Harris, Wake Forest


No team in the ACC has lost as much talent than Wake Forest in back-to-back seasons, including a head coach. In 2008-2009, Jeff Teague and James Johnson went pro. Last year, they lost Al-Farouq after only two seasons, along with seniors, Chas McFarland, Ishmael Smith and L.D. Williams. These loses leave voids not only a scoring, rebounding and assist void, but a leadership one as well.

Fact is, if the guys who left early (Teague, Johnson and Al-Farouq) had stayed to become seniors, Wake would be one of the top-three teams in the nation right now. Welcome to college basketball, folks.

The Demon Deacons are practically rebuilding the wheel here. There is only one senior on this club (Gary Clark) and he won’t see much action. Five freshman are coming in and don’t be surprised if two are starting on day one.

Last year, forward Ari Stewart and C.J. Harris both started for Wake as freshman and both played surprisingly well. One will have to be “the man” for this team in 2010. My money is on Harris.

C.J. Harris is a athletic guard, who can play both the point and shooting guard spot. He proved to be a solid finisher and had a knack for getting to the charity stripe last year (he finished second on the team with 130 FT attempts). This is always good when the player shots 83% from the line.

With Aminu and Smith gone, Harris is Wake’s leading returning scorer, with 9.9ppg last year, although his shooting percentages left a lot to be desired.

He shot 38% from the field last year. Not too tragic for a freshman, but if you want to be your teams best shooter, you have to get that percentage north of forty. In particular, Harris needs to deliver from the outside (he shot 32% from three).

Last year, the Demon Deacons were the worst three-point shooting team in the conference and by season’s end, it was killing them. Teams were just crashing the paint and daring them to make a shot. They couldn’t, they didn’t, they ended the season 2-6. Harris in particular struggled…not Ishmael Smith struggle, but struggled none the less. He shot just 34% from the field in Wake’s last 10 games, including, 8-38 (21%) from three. All these numbers should improve in round two for Harris.

While you can go ahead and pencil Harris in at the SG sport, let’s not forget, new coach Jeff Bzdlelik will have to hand the keys to the point guard spot to a freshman, Tony Chennault. That’s a lot to ask for, especially when you consider that Chennault may not be ready for the responsibility.

Don’t be shocked to see Harris switches over to the driver seat for a while in games, running the point. Luckily for Wake, Harris is spending the summer working on his ball-handling skills.

*** #19 coming next Tuesday***