2024 North Carolina Sports Network
Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Spotlight:
Wake Forest


By Evan Rogers
North Carolina Sports Network

School: Wake Forest University

Location: Winston-Salem, N.C.

Previous Conference Affiliations: Independent (1905-36), Southern Conference (1936-53)

ACC Member Since: 1953-54

ACC Ranking Among 32 Leagues (KenPom): 7th (2023), 5th (2022), 5th (2021), 4th (2020)

NCAA Tournament Bids: 23 (1939, 1953, 1961, 1962, 1977, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1991, 1992, 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2017)

Conference Titles: 5 (1953 in SoCon; 1961, 1962, 1995, 1996 in ACC)

Conference 1st-Place Finishes: 5 (1939 in SoCon; 1960, 1962, 1995, 2003 in ACC)

Head Coach: Steve Forbes (58 years old, 4th season at Wake Forest)

As A Player: None (played baseball at Southern Arkansas)

Record At Wake Forest (Through Jan. 12): 61-44 (.581) in 3+ seasons

Previous Head Coaching Experience: Southwestern CC (1991-93), Barton County CC (1995-98), Northwest Florida State (2011-13), East Tennessee State (2015-20)

College AC Experience: Southwestern CC (1989-91), Barton County CC (1993-95), Idaho (1998-2000), Louisiana Tech (2000-03), Illinois State (2003-04), Texas A&M (2004-06), Tennessee (2006-11), Wichita State (2013-15)

Assistant Under: David Farrar, Keith Richard, Porter Moser, Billy Gillispie, Bruce Pearl, Gregg Marshall

2022-23 Record: 19-14, 10-10 (8th in 15-team ACC)

2023-23 Preseason Prediction (Coaches/Media): 6th in 15-team ACC

2023-24 Record (Through Jan. 12): 11-4, 3-1 ACC

2023-24 Midseason Ranking (KenPom): #41 nationally (4th in ACC)

Upcoming Schedule Highlights: Virginia (1/13), at NC State (1/16), at UNC (1/22), at Pitt (1/31)


Wake Forest is looking to get over the hump and make its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2017.

The Demon Deacons have seen rapid improvement under fourth-year head coach Steve Forbes, who spent more than 25 years bouncing around the junior college and assistant coaching ranks before thriving in his first Division One head coaching opportunity.

From 2015-16 through 2019-20, Forbes won more than 75 percent of his games at East Tennessee State (130-43), went 71-19 (.789) in Southern Conference play, captured two conference championships, and never finished lower than third in a solid, 10-team league.

In 2020-21, Forbes’ first season in Winston-Salem, Wake Forest limped to a 6-16 record  — marking the fourth straight losing season for the Deacons at the time.

Since that slow start, however, the Demon Deacons have ripped off consecutive winning seasons under Forbes, and they narrowly missed the NCAA Tournament in 2022.

Entering this season, Forbes hit the transfer portal to replenish the loss of leading scorer — and All-ACC point guard — Tyree Appleby, a Florida transfer. To help fill that void, the Deacons brought in Gonzaga guard Hunter Sallis, a former five-star prospect.

“He (Sallis) played in the NCAA Tournament,” Forbes said. “So that’s first and foremost, that he’s got that type of tournament experience. Hunter is a former McDonald’s All-American. He’s really talented.

“One of the most exciting things for me when I get a transfer is from the program that they came from. I think that’s one of the important things when you go in the portal, is recruiting players from really good programs. So Mark Few, one of the top five coaches in the country, maybe even higher. He knows how to play. Sometimes it’s just fit and opportunity. Hunter is very unselfish, maybe too unselfish at times.”

Through 15 games, the change of scenery has paid off for Sallis. He is basically tied for the title of Demon Deacons’ scoring leader, at about 18 points per game. He has scored in double figures in each game this season, highlighted by 24-point outings in wins over Florida and Towson.

Fellow transfer Kevin “Boopie” Miller also has provided an instant impact for Wake Forest. The former Central Michigan point guard is putting up about 18 points per game (roughly tied with Sallis) to go along with his team-high 4.1 assists per game.

Two returning starters, super-aggressive wing guard Cameron Hildreth (17 ppg) and dependable stretch forward Andrew Carr (13 ppg), round out the top four scorers for the Demon Deacons this season.

Wake Forest earned a win over Florida in the inaugural ACC-SEC Challenge, but the Demon Deacons have yet to pick up a Quad One win this year. While that is a very fluid metric, as various opponents’ rankings rise and fall throughout the season, only the Deacs’ mid-November game against Utah (a 77-70 loss) fits the Quad One description right now.

After its solid 3-1 start in ACC play, which included victories over Boston College (on the road), Miami and Virginia Tech, Wake Forest will look to take advantage of its remaining opportunities to pick up marquee wins to both build momentum for the ACC Tournament and bolster its resume for the NCAA Tournament selection committee.

“You can’t just stack wins,” Forbes said. “Used to be, you’d win 20, 22, 23, 24 games, you’re going to get in; now there’s teams getting in at sub-.500 in their league, so you’ve got to adjust. So that’s what we’re going to try to do and win the right games.”

2023-24 Wake Forest Demon Deacons
(11-4, 3-1 ACC; through Jan. 12)

Starters

PG Kevin Miller, r-So. — 31 mpg, 18 ppg, 3 rpg, 49% FG, 82% FT, 39% threes, 62/38 ATO, 1 block, 25 steals
(6-0/175); 2023 Central Michigan transfer (starter); 2022 HM All-MAC; injured 2023; Chicago, Ill.

G Hunter Sallis, Jr. — 35 mpg, 18 ppg, 3 rpg, 47% FG, 80% FT, 36% threes, 33/27 ATO, 9 blocks, 17 steals
(6-5/185); 2023 Gonzaga transfer (2-year backup); Millard North HS; Omaha, Neb.

G Cameron Hildreth*, Jr. — 35 mpg, 17 ppg, 4 rpg, 50% FG, 86% FT, 46% threes, 41/36 ATO, 2 blocks, 11 steals
(6-4/195); 32 mpg, 12 ppg in 2022-23; ex-British Junior National Team; Worthing, England

F Andrew Carr*, Gr. — 32 mpg, 13 ppg, 8 rpg, 53% FG, 77% FT, 35% threes, 21/22 ATO, 24 blocks, 10 steals
(6-10/220); 2022 Delaware transfer (2-year starter); West Chester East, West Chester, Pa.

F Efton Reid III, Jr. — 26 mpg, 8 ppg, 9 rpg, 41% FG, 90% FT, 10% threes, 7/9 ATO, 14 blocks, 6 steals
(7-0/250); 2023 Gonzaga transfer (backup); 2022 LSU (starter); IMG (Fla.) Academy; Richmond, Va.

Key Reserves

G Patrick Friedrichsen, Fr. — 19 mpg, 6 ppg, 2 rpg, 44% FG, 67% FT, 42% threes, 12/6 ATO, 1 block, 12 steals
(6-3/195); 4-star signee; 30 ppg, 40% threes as HS senior; Bixby HS, Bixby, Okla.

F Damari Monsanto*, r-Sr. — (injured; has not yet played in 2023-24)
(6-6/225); 24 mpg, 13 ppg in 2022-23; 2021 ETSU transfer (starter); Pembroke Pines, Fla.

F Marqus Marion, Fr. — 14 mpg, 1 ppg, 3 rpg, 46% FG, 70% FT, 40% threes, 3/5 ATO, 5 blocks, 6 steals
(6-9/215); Danish Junior National Team; BMS Herlev; Skovlunde, Denmark

F Zach Keller, So. — 15 mpg, 3 ppg, 3 rpg, 39% FG, 33% FT, 33% threes, 4/8 ATO, 8 blocks, 8 steals
(6-10/228); 11 mpg, 2 ppg in 2022-23; ThunderRidge HS, Highlands Ranch, Colo.

C Matthew Marsh*, Jr. — 13 mpg, 2 ppg, 3 rpg, 67% FG, 50% threes (few), 2/4 ATO, 4 blocks, 2 steals
(7-1/240); 18 mpg, 6 ppg, 4 rpg in 2022-23; ex-British National Team; Cornwall, England

*—returning starter (started at least 50% of current team’s games last season)

Wake Forest Demon Deacons
10-Year Snapshot

Season — Overall, League (Place), Postseason

2022-23: 19-13, 10-10 ACC (8th), no postseason (Steve Forbes)
2021-22: 25-10, 13-7 ACC (5th), NIT Quarterfinals (Steve Forbes)
2020-21: 6-16, 3-15 (14th), no postseason (Steve Forbes)
2019-20: 13-18, 6-14 (13th), no postseason (Danny Manning)
2018-19: 11-20, 4-14 ACC (13th), no postseason (Danny Manning)
2017-18: 11-20, 4-14 ACC (14th), no postseason (Danny Manning)
2016-17: 19-14, 9-9 ACC (10th), NCAA First Four (Danny Manning)
2015-16: 11-20, 2-16 ACC (14th), no postseason (Danny Manning)
2014-15: 13-19, 5-13 ACC (12th), no postseason (Danny Manning)
2013-14: 17-16, 6-12 ACC (11th), no postseason (Jeff Bzdelik)

*—conference champion

NOTE: Please visit the North Carolina Sports Network’s 2023-24 profiles and 10-year snapshots for all 19 Division One men’s basketball programs in North Carolina and all 15 Atlantic Coast Conference programs.

Appalachian State Mountaineers, Sun Belt Conference

Campbell Camels, Coastal Athletic Association

Charlotte 49ers, American Athletic Conference

Davidson Wildcats, Atlantic-10 Conference

Duke Blue Devils, Atlantic Coast Conference

East Carolina Pirates, American Athletic Conference

Elon Phoenix, Coastal Athletic Association

Gardner-Webb Runnin’Bulldogs, Big South Conference

High Point Panthers, Big South Conference

NC Central Eagles, Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference

NC State Wolfpack, Atlantic Coast Conference

North Carolina Tar Heels, Atlantic Coast Conference

North Carolina A&T Aggies, Coastal Athletic Association

Notre Dame Fighting Irish, Atlantic Coast Conference

Pitt Panthers, Atlantic Coast Conference

Queens Royals, Atlantic Sun Conference

Syracuse Orange, Atlantic Coast Conference

UNC Asheville Bulldogs, Big South Conference

UNC Greensboro Spartans, Southern Conference

UNC Wilmington Seahawks, Coastal Athletic Association

Western Carolina Catamounts, Southern Conference