October 14, 2012

Inside presence

Wake Forest has missed a real inside presence the last two seasons, but have may have found one in freshman power forward Devin Thomas.

The Demon Deacons were 11th in the ACC in rebounding margin, giving up 4.2 boards to their opponents per game in 2011-12. Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik said Thomas is not finesse and that the native of Harrisburg, Pa. has the aggression the Deacs need.

"That's always how I've played," Thomas said. "That's what got me here, so I'm not going to change anything that got me here. I'm going to do what Coach Bzdelik wants, and that's what I like to do. I like being physical. I like being a down there, and I like to rebound and bring energy to the team and to the floor."

As a senior at in high school he averaged 23.8 points, 13.9 rebounds, 2.4 assists and 2.6 blocks per game to lead Central Dauphin to a 29-3 record and the PIAA Class AAAA state semifinals.

"He's a whole lot of just unbridled effort, always in the attack mode, passion, in scuffles, on the floor, and when the smoke clears the uniform is dirty," Bzdelik said. "He's just always in the attack mode."

"[He's] similar to his sister if you ever watch his sister [Maryland's Alyssa Thomas]. His sister was the ACC Women's Player of the Year [in 2012]."

Thomas had arthroscopic knee surgery Tuesday, Sept. 11. In a press release from Wake Forest's Athletic Communications office team Doctor David Martin said the purpose of the procedure was to remove loose cartilage fragments in Thomas' knee.

The 6-foot-9 and 240-pound Thomas, who was rated as a three-star recruit by Rivals.com, said his knee is about 85-percent.

"I'm still not sure if I'm allowed to play in Canada [Oct. 19-20] or not, but we'll see," Thomas said. "We'd rather be safe than sorry. The season's almost a month away. I'll definitely be ready for the season."

Bzdelik and Wake Forest assistant coach Jeff Battle encouraged Thomas to work on his face-up game. Since arriving to Winston-Salem over the summer Thomas has developed a reliable right-hand hook shot, and a 15-18-foot jump-shot.

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