It's one thing to have an historically awful season. Hey, it happens. And it's one thing to lose a few players to transfer, or bad behavior, or the occasional 18-year-old mistake. That happens, too.
The problem is when you combine the two -- when you're bad on the floor and off. Wake Forest had one of the worst seasons in its history in 2011, and head coach Jeff Bzdelik is desperately trying to rebuild the once-proud Demon Deacons into an ACC contender (or at least something above "sudden doormat") in his second year on the job. Unfortunately, Wake is combining the on-court struggles with some truly ugly off-court problems, the latest of which came this weekend courtesy of sophomore guard J.T. Terrell. From the Associated Press:
Guard J.T. Terrell is withdrawing from Wake Forest and leaving the basketball team after he was charged with driving while impaired.
Terrell's attorney, Mike Grace, said in a statement issued Monday through the school that Terrell was arrested by Winston-Salem Police at about 3 a.m. Saturday. Grace says the circumstances of the arrest and other signs indicate that Terrell "suffers from a serious medical condition which requires immediate attention."
Terrell was an intriguing prospect as a freshman, averaging 11.1 points in 24.0 minutes per game. Having him back in 2012 wouldn't have catapulted Wake into the upper echelons of the ACC, but it would have been a solid player with which Wake could seek to compete and improve throughout the season.
Keep in mind how much Wake Forest has already lost in the past year. Center Tony Woods left the school after being charged with assault against the mother of his child. Freshman Melvin Tabb was dismissed -- and then reinstated and then dismissed again -- first for conduct detrimental to the team and eventually theft. Bzdelik suspended forward Ty Walker for a month for a related issue.
It's been a mess, and that's putting it generously. Every program has its off-court issues. Every program goes through losing seasons. But when you combine things like assault charges, theft and driving under the influence with plain bad basketball, well, these things start to pile up. A good team can't afford to lose players or suffer the reputation damage, but it can typically weather the storm. A bad team? Not so much.