ACC’s Top-100: No. 84 Nikita Mescheriakov, Wake Forest


After taking a day off, we’re back with the “ACC’s Top-100 Returning Players.” Hopefully you didn’t miss it too much.

PLAYER: Nikita Mescheriakov
POSITION: Power Forward
TEAM: Wake Forest
YEAR: Senior

TAPE: 6-8, 215

2010-11 STATS: 4.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG (.468/.719/.333)

At the tail end of a frustrating 2010-2011 season, head coach Jeff Bzdelik decided to give some heavy minutes to Nikita Mescheriakov. Previously that year, the transfer from Georgetown became eligible in December and after playing some decent minutes in non-conference games, he was barely cracking five minutes per game in the ACC.

However in Wake’s final four games, Mescheriakov averaged just over 21 minutes and he produced. He scored just under 10 per game, hitting a solid 16-29 from the floor. For the season he hit a decent 46-percent from the field, including 33-percent from three.

Not bad and sort of what was expected from the kid from Minsk, Belarus.

In fact, those numbers could give Demon Deacons hope. Yet, something tells me those numbers are fishy.

First, three of those games came against Georgia Tech and Boston College (twice). That’s not elite ACC competition.

Second, are we really prepared to forget about his awful stint at Georgetown?

Coming out off high school, the Hoyas were expected to get a lengthy lefty with a nice touch, especially from deep. Sure he needed to develop, gain some weigh, do the typical things skinny Europeans (not named Dirk) need to do when they come to the U.S.

Instead, Mescheriakov was a joke at Georgetown. I’ll let the Casual Hoya break it down for you.

"No body control, no handle, no shot, no presence and no footwork.  Our lasting memory of him was taking the final shot against St. John’s in the first round of the Big East Tournament last year, and hitting the TOP OF THE BACKBOARD. I’ll repeat, the TOP OF THE BACKBOARD."

In his final season at Georgetown, Mescheriakov shot just 25-percent from the field and 20-percent from three. He appeared baffled in only seven games (after playing in 23 his freshman year), spending most of his sophomore season sitting along side the walk-ons.

So the question is, if Mescheriakov clearly wasn’t Big East material, is he really ACC material?

Certainly experienced has helped. He was a better play at the end of last season. I’m sure coach Jeff Bzdelik would love to use him as a scorer off the bench, giving a young Wake team some veteran minutes throughout the game.

The problem is, with the transfer of Ari Stewart, Wake is devastatingly thin at power forward. In fact, the only two official PF’s on the team are Mescheriakov and incoming freshman Daniel Green.

In the end, I suspect Bzdelik will go small, running with three guards (C.J. Harris, Tony Chennault and J.T. Terrell), using Travis McKie at the four-spot. This means Mescheriakov can probably expect to see 15-20 minutes per game. It’s not ideal, but I just don’t see Mescheriakov delivering the goods to be a starter.