October 15, 2012
A blossoming backcourt
A feeling of finality has sunk in for C.J. Harris, who feels old and desperate, as he enters his final campaign as a Demon Deacon.
The 6-foot-3 and 190-pound senior combo guard from Winston-Salem said a goal for this season is for Wake Forest to make it to the NCAA Tournament.
For that dream to come true Harris will have to depend on the help of freshmen point guards Madison Jones and Codi Miller-McIntyre and sophomore shooting guard Chase Fischer in the backcourt with him.
"It's [my relationship with Jones and Miller-McIntyre] kind of like a little brother, big brother type thing, but they're ready to play and if they have questions I'm there to answer them," Harris said.
Miller-McIntyre said he gets Harris' opinion on everything.
"He teaches me stuff, moves that will help me get to the basket," Miller-McIntyre said. "Instead of walking in and nobody being there and kind of just going with the flow it's good to learn from somebody else's experiences."
Wake Forest head coach Jeff Bzdelik said Jones and Miller-McIntyre admire, look up to and respect Harris.
"I'm privileged to be around him, because every day I watch him," Jones said. "Since the first time I played one-on-one with him I saw the different moves and his body-control and everything he does is so good. I just watch him, and every day I just try to take something different from his game and try to incorporate it in mine."
"Everything he does you can tell that he's been here for three years and that he knows how to play and how to be at the next level. I just feel like it's a privilege to have that veteran helping you out and teaching you about the game."
Bzdelik can see himself playing Harris, Jones and Miller-McIntyre at the same time. He added it would be a small lineup, but athletic and very quick.
It remains undecided who the starting point guard will be Tuesday, Nov. 9 against Radford.
"Everybody talks about Codi, but Madison is really, really getting stronger and starting to figuring this out here," Bzdelik said. "He has really, really good quickness and he really pushes the ball hard. You're going to see a team that's going to really run. That's all we've been working on. If you walk in you're out."
"He's [Miller-McIntyre] learning. He's trying to figure it out, and every day you see him becoming more and more comfortable and more and more aggressive [and] more and more understanding of what we want to the point where he's scoring more, he's attacking more, he's learning how to get in there and play off of two feet."
As a senior in high school Miller-McIntyre averaged 24 points, six rebounds, nine assists and three steals per game to lead Hargrave to a 38-1 record and the No. 2 ranking in the nation.
Rivals.com rated Miller-McIntyre as a four-star recruit, the nation's No. 9 point guard and the No. 66 overall prospect.
The 6-foot-3 and 195-pound Miller-McIntyre brings power and explosiveness to the point guard position, but as Bzdelik alluded to the transition from high school to college has been a major adjustment for the freshman from Concord, NC.
"I'd say it's a little bit tough, because it's not high school anymore, so I just can't do what I want to do," Miller-McIntyre said. "My toughest thing is truly learning the point guard position and truly understanding the thinking part of the game instead of being more athletic and stronger than everybody else. That's the hardest part."
"At Hargrave and First Assembly of course I could just do whatever I want by instinct. I wouldn't have to think about it. I'd just do it, and now I just have to slow things down a little bit, examine the court, call out plays, what I think would work out best, so that's what I've improved the most on [since arriving at Wake]."
Jones, a 6-foot-1 and 160-pounder from Raleigh, averaged 14.8 points, 4.3 assists and 3.1 steals per game to lead Ravenscroft to a 31-4 record and a NCISAA championship crown as a senior in high school.
Rivals.com rated Jones as a three-star recruit.
Jones said he is working to gain more control of the offense and get better at involving others. He has improved as a shooter since arriving at Wake Forest.
Fischer gives the Deacs another shooter and experience to Wake's young backcourt. The 6-foot-3 and 195-pounder averaged 6.3 points per game as a key reserve last season.
"That's kind of natural for me, but on the court I'm looking to be a lot more aggressive offensively," Fischer said. "Last year we struggled a little bit offensively sometimes and it was hard to find a groove for our offense, but I think we're clicking a lot better this year. I'm more aggressive, and I understand the college game a little more. I can attack a little bit more off the dribble and do some of those things, so I'm expanding offensively and I'm becoming a lot better defender as well."
"Getting my shot off a lot quicker is the main thing, because when you come to college as a shooter it's a lot harder to get your shot off, because everybody is so athletic and the speed of the game, so I'm getting my shot off a lot faster."
Fischer will help Harris shoulder the mantle of leadership.
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