2021 big man Trey James of Martin County decommitted from Wake Forest on Sunday after they fired head coach Danny Manning. James committed to the Demon Deacons back in January. He broke the state career shot blocking record in the middle of his junior season and helped the Cardinals win the 15th region championship, averaging 15 points and 11 rebounds.
After much thought and discussion with my family, I have decided to decommit from Wake Forest University and reopen my recruitment. I want to thank Coach Manning, Coach Walters and Coach Childress for the opportunity and I wish the best to Wake Forest.
— Trey James (@Trey50James) April 26, 2020
James tells KSR that he is hearing from Georgia, Ohio State, Virginia Tech, Butler, Marquette, Miami, Iona, Loyola Chicago, and Iowa, and that he received a scholarship offer from Eastern Kentucky. He says he is looking for a place where he will be comfortable and have a good relationship with the coaches.
James is one of several players that have decommitted from Wake Forest since the school announced Manning’s departure. Wake Forest is in a free fall and has not been very competitive in recent years. They are now stuck paying Manning’s $15 million buyout. On November 25, 2017, Wake Forest was 2-4 on the season with losses to Drake, Georgia Southern and Liberty, but for some strange reason, Ron Wellman, their athletic director at the time, decided to give Manning a contract extension even though he was 45-57 as Wake’s coach.
This wasn’t Wellman’s only mistake as an athletic director. He pushed out coach Dino Gaudio in 2010 so he could bring in his friend Jeff Bzdelik. Gaudio, now an assistant at UofL, actually did a decent job at Wake Forest, making back-to-back NCAA Tournaments in 2009 and 2010. In the 2010 tournament, Wake defeated Texas and then lost to the John Wall and Demarcus Cousins-led Kentucky team in the round of 32. A few weeks later, Wellman decided to go in a different direction and brought in Bzdelik to be the coach. Bzdelik, who was coming off a 36-58 record at Colorado, fell flat at Wake Forest and the momentum from previous years quickly evaporated. After three terrible seasons, fans started buying billboards and taking out ads in the student newspaper asking for Bzdelik to be fired. He even stopped taking questions on his own radio show, but Wellman chose to stand by him. Bzdelik was finally let go one year later after finishing with a 51-76 record at Wake Forest.