Last week, Wake Forest shocked the basketball community by accelerating their process to rid themselves of Danny Manning and hire a new coach. The hire? Steve Forbes from East Tennessee State was chosen over a group headlined by Wes Miller (UNCG). It was a move that seemed to be widely respected from all fans, players, and coaches, but what would be the ultimate implication? We already know that Forbes can construct a winning program with less than high-major resources, as he did at ETSU. However, his ability to offer and pursue some of the same prospects (from ETSU) could have a major effect on the perception of said players. For example, Robert McCray V (AC Flora/Upward Stars) held numerous scholarship offers prior to the Forbes hiring but now adds the first high-major school to his list. Will that immediately vault McCray to the next level? He should certainly already be getting recruited and offered by those types of schools, but it appears that Forbes could’ve just knocked down the first domino within a long chain.
Though McCray was the example, there are dozens of other applicable candidates who held zero high-major offers prior to the new staff at Wake Forest. Why is the perception important? Well, anyone plugged in within the grassroots scene has witnessed the age-old tactic of coaches waiting to offer until the player receives an offer from their level or even a higher level. In addition to McCray, guys like Joshua Beadle, Lucas Taylor, and Bryce Harris are benefitting in a massive way. The floodgates have officially started to burst and these players will almost definitely start piling up offers from high-major programs. It’s just interesting how Forbes has somewhat single-handedly bolstered these kids’ recruitment, whether it was his intent or not.
That being said, Forbes isn’t only pursuing guys that would’ve fit his mold at ETSU. Extending offers to guys like Patrick Baldwin, Michael Foster, Chet Holmgren, and Nate Bittle shows his desire to get in the mix and secure the cream of the crop nationally. It’s extremely early in this new process with Forbes as the HC of Wake Forest to evaluate any of his moves, but everything seems more than encouraging thus far. Though optimism is always high with any new hire, he has a chance to really do something special with a program that has largely been the laughing stock of the ACC throughout the last decade.