Last year the program at Wake Forest resembled a cross between The White Shadow and Dallas: It was a true basketball melodrama but you had to wait all season to see how it turned out.
Here's a synopsis of the plot: Forward Kenny Green missed seven games when he was suspended for fighting; Forward Sylvester Charles transferred to Old Dominion in midseason; after a one-point loss to Georgia Tech, the players grumbled about Coach Carl Tacy's tactical decisions; the grumbling turned to mutiny in between 33-and 41-point losses at the end of the regular season as the players met with the athletic director to complain about Tacy; rumors swirled that Tacy was going to Marshall University.
Then came the heartwarming episode to end the season—Tacy denies the rumors, sits the kids down and opens up the lines of communication. They respond by going to the semifinals of the NIT. "I thought that kind of thing only happened on TV," says last season's leading scorer, John Toms, "but it really goes on in the real world."
There are a lot of reasons to think this season may have a happy ending for the Deacons. They have back three senior starters who have won 20 games and gone to a postseason tournament in each of their three previous years. The most pivotal is 6'9", 210-pound Center Anthony Teachey, who was third in the ACC in rebounding in 1982-83. Small Forward Toms gives Wake explosive streak-shooting, and Guard Danny Young is the top holdover assist man in the conference. The No. 2 guard spot belongs to junior Delaney Rudd, who may have been the most improved player in the country last year: His scoring average climbed from 1.1 in 1981-82 to 12.8.
The rejuvenated Green, a sophomore, will replace the only notable loss from a season ago, the oft-injured Alvis Rogers. The Deacons should be able to avoid the late-season collapses of the past because of depth provided by a strong corps of new recruits. They've added swingman Mark Cline, a two-time West Virginia high school Player of the Year, and Kentucky transfer Todd May, who was Mr. Basketball in Kentucky in 1982. Another new face at Wake Forest may be hard to find—you have to look way down to see 5'3" welterweight Tyrone (Muggsy) Bogues. Don't be fooled by his lack of size, though. He was the MVP of the top-ranked high school team in the country, Dunbar of Baltimore.