April 7, 2003 The PooP
Whether he was smart or lucky nobody knows for sure, but Wake Forest athletic director Ron Wellman deserves some credit and probably a few apologies. Two years ago, many (including us) thought he made a mistake when he alienated Dave Odom by refusing to extend the veteran coach's contract. Odom was a good coach, but Skip Prosser is even better. Prosser appears to be the perfect fit for the Deacons, considering his ability to land more exciting players and implement a more appealing style of basketball at a school that desperately needed both.
Done For Me Lately
|1994||9-7 (3)||21-12||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1995||12-4 (1x)||26-6||NCAA Sweet 16|
|1996||12-4 (2x)||26-6||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1997||11-5 (2)||24-7||NCAA 2nd Round|
|1998||7-9 (4)||16-14||NIT 2nd Round|
|1999||7-9 (4)||17-14||NIT 2nd Round|
|2000||7-9 (5)||22-14||NIT Champion|
|2001||8-8 (5)||19-11||NCAA 1st Round|
|2002||9-7 (3)||21-13||NCAA 2nd Round|
|2003||13-3 (1)||25-6||NCAA 2nd Round|
xwon ACC title
ACC: 95-65 (.594); No. 4 in ACC
Overall: 217-103 (.678); No. 4 in ACC
Projected 2003-04 Roster
NOTE: Scholarship/rotation players only.
The Good News
Prosser is a very good coach. Two years ago, he took a group of Odom's unhappy players and somehow inspired them to stay together and play some of their best basketball toward the end of the season, despite the fact that they were a poor fit for his preferred (faster) style. This year he implemented more of his own philosophy with a young team, and the Deacs won their first outright ACC regular-season title in 40 years. Finally, not many programs can boast three strong, deep recruiting classes in a row. Wake is one of the few.
The Bad News
This isn't written about very often, but precious few small schools (enrollment under 10,000) are powers on the college basketball scene. Only two Duke (seven times) and Stanford (twice) have reached the Elite Eight more than once since 1990. Wake Forest is among the handful of small schools that have made one trip to the regional finals in that period. There are plenty of underlying reasons for these statistics, and most of them aren't going away any time soon. In some ways, the Deacs always face an uphill battle.
This program was at a dangerous crossroads two years ago it sounds odd, but Odom was still the coach at the time thanks to two consecutive mediocre recruiting classes and the possibility of another on the way. Prosser not only prevented a dropoff but won an ACC regular-season title and advanced to two straight NCAA Tournaments along the way. It's clear that he has the Deacs pointed back in the right direction. Players are developing, and recruiting is going extremely well. As long as Prosser stays, the future is bright.