Wake Forest's men's basketball team has had a rough couple of years. Last year was coach Jeff Bzdelik's first year at the helm and he inherited a situation that was challenging to say the least. I don't care if Wake had hired the love child of Adolph Rupp and Bobby Knight, last year's squad was going to have a losing record and the only question was how bad. It ended up being VERY bad and as you can imagine Wake fans weren't too happy. I can recall many a conversation with fellow fans throughout the season who were highly skeptical of the program and of the coach. My refrain was, and will be for the foreseeable future, that Coach Bzdelik cannot be fairly judged until at least year three of his tenure; it will take that long before he can have his own recruits in place and his system instituted.
Coming into the current season I think any reasonable fan would say that in order for the team to be considered successful it would need only improve on the number of wins, be competitive in more ACC games and look like an actual team on the court. So far it's looking good for the Deacons. As you'd expect with a very young squad the team has been inconsistent, but compared to last year they're a dream to watch. On the days when they're bad they look like a high school team out there, but they look like a team. On the days when they're good they look exactly like what they are – a team that is trying to climb the ACC ladder and is a dangerous foe on any given day to all but perhaps UNC and Duke. And yes, they look like a team.
Obviously the jury's still out on Coach Bzdelik's program, but personally I'm liking what I see. I also think every player and coach in every sport should listen to this blurb from the coach's press conference after his team's win over Virginia Tech last Saturday (found at Dan Collins' excellent My Take on Wake blog). He's spot on about the power of believing in yourself and the mind being a powerful weapon: