Despite strong recruiting, loss of John Collins will hurt Wake Forest

Getty Images

The Wake Forest Demon Deacons' season ended Tuesday with a loss to Kansas State in the First Four. Here's a look at what the 2017-18 season could hold:

Possible 2017-18 starting five

G: Bryant Crawford

G: Brandon Childress

G: Chaundee Brown (freshman)

G: Keyshawn Woods

C: Konstantinos Mitoglou

Who is lost: There is only one senior on the roster, but the Demon Deacons are also preparing for the loss of dominant big man John Collins, one of the best players in college basketball. Collins averaged nearly 19 points and 10 rebounds during the season, cementing his status as a potential first-round pick after his sophomore season. He was very efficient on the offensive end and dominated the glass. Collins carried Wake Forest for stretches, and will be impossible to replace. Former Milwaukee graduate transfer Austin Arians is also gone, after carving out a consistent role in the frontcourt. He finished the season with three straight double-figure scoring outings.

Who is added: Danny Manning has been steadily improving on the recruiting trail in Winston-Salem, and he was able to beat out the likes of Kansas and Florida for ESPN 100 wing Chaundee Brown. Brown is a physical wing who could push for a starting job right off the bat as a freshman. He’s one of the best scorers in the 2017 class, given his ability to finish at the rim and bury shots in the mid-range. Look for him to make a considerable impact. Three-star wing Melo Eggleston joins him. Eggleston had some hype early in his career, but bounced around to multiple high schools in his final two years. He’s very athletic, though, with plenty of potential. Sunday Okeke is also committed.

What it means for next season: With Collins gone, the biggest question is how will Manning replace him up front? There are big bodies on the roster, including Doral Moore and Sam Japhet-Mathias, but there are no tailor-made replacements. Expect the Demon Deacons to go after some transfers and international players in the spring. Konstantinos Mitoglou will have to take on a bigger role after playing second fiddle to Collins up front this past season. He can step out and make shots from 3, but could have to anchor the interior in 2017-18. Wake Forest will be very perimeter-focused next season, with Brown adding scoring punch. Bryant Crawford is back at point guard after taking a step forward as a sophomore. Crawford made far better decisions with the ball, and was more efficient on the offensive end. Former Charlotte transfer Keyshawn Woods can do a little of everything, establishing himself as one of the most integral pieces on the roster. He can score, really shoot it from 3, rebound, distribute -- and finish at the rim. Brandon Childress and Mitchell Wilbekin are also returning in the backcourt. Childress is a good secondary ball-handler and shot-maker, while Wilbekin is more of a scorer and shooter. He’s also one of the best free-throw shooters in the ACC.

Trending: Level. This one is a tough call, because you have to balance the trajectory Wake Forest has been on under Manning with the departure of Collins. That will be the biggest question: How do the Demon Deacons replace Collins? If they can get quality production from role players or the freshman, Wake Forest could get back to the dance.