Wake Forest Demon Deacons: Woods, Wilbekin Embrace Manning’s Culture

DAYTON, OH - MARCH 14: Mitchell Wilbekin
DAYTON, OH - MARCH 14: Mitchell Wilbekin /

Following the Demon Deacons’ best season under Danny Manning, Keyshawn Woods and Mitchell Wilbekin look to continue Wake Forest’s trend.

After four abysmal years under Jeff Bzdelik, Wake Forest hired Danny Manning away from Tulane to pick up the pieces. Since then, Manning’s Demon Deacons have improved considerably. Among those who have noticed are Keyshawn Woods and Mitchell Wilbekin.

“Danny Manning wanted to change the culture of our team,” Woods said. “He wanted to bring in people that love being in the gym and love to get better. He did a great job with bringing in the right type of guys that we needed in order to win games.”

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Echoing Woods’ remarks, Wilbekin said, “Manning has been great since I got here. He expects a lot of us as players, but that’s something that we appreciate. He’s been successful collegiately and also at the professional level. We all respect that, and we’re all eager to learn whatever we can from him.”

As successful as the Deacons have been under Manning, the pair of upperclassmen want to insure they leave their mark. The added benefit is that success now can pave the way for future Wake Forest teams to add onto those triumphs.

“I really just want to come in and do whatever I can do to help this team be successful,” Wilbekin said. “We’re the returning players that have to have a voice on both sides of the floor. I’m looking forward to my last year here, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to have a good year.”

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The Deacons will aim to expanding the culture Manning has cultivated. Wake Forest will get that chance with its first game of the season on Friday, Nov. 10 against Georgia Southern.