Andrew Carr was attending a Philadelphia 76ers game when Wake Forest head coach Steve Forbes started recruiting him.
Forbes had been impressed with Carr, a versatile 6-foot-10 West Chester, Pa., native who began his career at Delaware. He received a phone call from Forbes while at that Sixers game, and the Demon Deacons’ coach asked him if he knew who Bobby Jones was.
“The secretary of defense,” Forbes recalled to The Observer at ACC media day Wednesday in Uptown Charlotte. “He’s built like him. He’s not Bobby Jones because of his incredible athleticism. But that’s when I had the vision of him.”
Carr, who last year led Wake Forest with 6.2 rebounds per game and 32 blocks, wasn’t familiar with Jones at the time, and Forbes explained who he was and how he saw Carr’s game developing. Not long after that phone call, one of Forbes’ assistant coaches gave Carr a call and the next day showed up at Delaware to see him play.
“I could tell from early recruiting that Coach Forbes was really genuine and cared a lot about his players,” Carr said. “For me, that was really important in my recruiting process. Just the relationship part of it.”
Last year, Carr started all 32 contests and averaged 10.8 points per game for Wake, which won its first ACC Tournament game since 2017. The Demon Deacons, who went 19-14 last year, are on the heels of back-to-back winning seasons for the first time since 2008-09 and 2009-10.
In his sophomore season at Delaware, Carr shot 56.4% from the field, second on his team, and led the Fightin’ Blue Hens with a 40.5% clip from 3-point range. A traditional big man, Carr continued playing this “small ball five” role at Wake last season.
“It’s important to switch up the look of the team throughout the game,” Carr told The Observer. “It’s not because that’s necessarily my position, but the ability to be able to go to a small-ball five look, even last year, proved to be really beneficial to the team. Whether that’s looking to go big depending on who we’re playing, or looking to go small, I think just having the versatility to do that is something really important and something I pride myself in.”
It’s also the redshirt senior season for Damari Monsanto, a 6-foot-6 guard who was shooting 40.5% from 3-point range before suffering a season-ending patella tear last February. Forbes said he hopes to have him back by December. Junior Cameron Hildreth also returns for Forbes’ squad, another shooter who averaged 12.2 points per game last winter.
“That’s something we can really look forward to this year: We have a lot of guys who can come in and understand their role and do what they can do to help us be successful,” Hildreth said. “Last year we maybe relied on a couple of guys too much, which could hurt us in the long run, but this year we’ve got a lot of balance.”
Despite Wake’s success relative to recent memory, it still finished eighth in the ACC, going 10-10 in conference play. Thirteen of its games were decided by three points or fewer. The Demon Deacons dropped seven of them — most of which coming later in the season, capped by a 74-72 loss to Miami in the ACC quarterfinals.
“This is why I’m bald,” Forbes joked.