football

No Conley for Wake Forest, no problem

Ishmaelsmith4 4200
While Ohio State cashed in on Wednesday, one program is left reeling. Wake Forest was long thought to be in the driver's seat for Mike Conley, Jr. and the de facto favorite for Greg Oden.
That all changed when the duo picked the Buckeyes, leaving Wake coach Skip Prosser searching for a point guard to fill the void left by Chris Paul. Where do the Deacons go? Who do they target?
With Conley and Oden not picking Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons have seen all their top targets - particularly point guards - look elsewhere.
Tywon Lawson looked hard at the Deacons before choosing North Carolina. Combo guard Jerry Smith recently said yes to Rick Pitino and the Louisville Cardinals.
Wake Forest also recruited Jawan Carter (St. Joe's), Josue Soto (Miami) and Jeremiah Rivers (Georgetown).
D.J. Augustin, Javaris Crittenton and Will Walker have all decided to look elsewhere, too. Augustin is down to LSU and Texas. Crittenton is down to Georgia Tech and Florida. Walker is looking at a number of other schools.
Nearly every point guard targeted is committed to another program or looking at other options. It's a position that Wake builds its offense around.
With no pledges at the point, woe is Wake, right? Not so fast. The answer may be right under their nose.
Several different sources have told Rivals.com that the Demon Deacons have focused their efforts on Ishmael Smith and could receive a verbal commitment from him soon. The relative unknown point guard from Central Carrabus High School in Concord, N.C., will unofficially visit the ACC school Thursday and he could leave town having committed to the program.
Smith is one of the quickest players in the country from end to end, and he's very efficient as a floor general. He rarely turns the ball over and can appky the brakes on his blazing speed better than most. The obvious concern with Smith is his size (5-foot-11, 155-pounds) but at the recent NBA Players Association camp, Smith opened some eyes and proved he can hang with some of the nation's best.
If Smith does end up at Wake Forest as expected, it will give the Deacons two of the top players form the state of North Carolina. Smith, current Wake pledge Jamie Skeen and UNC-bound William Graves round out the best home grown players from the Tar Heel State.
Quietly, Prosser and his staff continue to bring in the best home state talent from North Carolina. They landed Kevin Swinton in 2005 from Greensboro. Cameron Stanley hails from Raleigh. Chris Paul is from Lewisville. Justin Gray, Taron Downey, Eric Williams and Trent Stickland are all home-grown products.
With the impending decision of Smith and the concrete commitment from Skeen, the Deacons continue to own the state. Skeen is a bouncy forward with an always-improving perimeter game. He's got the potential to be one of the best incoming freshmen in the ACC in 2006.
Perhaps Wake's best get is Anthony Gurley out of Boston. The strong guard loves to challenge defenders by penetrating to the basket and playing at and above the rim. The 6-foot-3, 185-pound guard is the No. 60 ranked player in the class of 2006 by Rivals.com.
Missing out on players happens in recruiting. Missing out on that many point guards is rare but this isn't a black day for Wake Forest, not in the slightest.
From a fan standpoint, the best part about the potential class is the longevity of the recruits. All three are career college guys, and there's nothing wrong with that.
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