Dez Wells, senior, guard/forward, No. 44
Collegiate Stats: 14.9 ppg, 4.3 rpg, 2.2 apg, 1.1 spg, 0.8 bpg, 48.1% FG, 30.4% 3PT
Recruiting Ratings: Four stars, 54th-best player in nation, 21st-best shooting guard by 247sports
Who did Maryland beat out? Kentucky, Memphis and Oregon (after transferring from Xavier)
High School: Word of God Christian Academy
Hometown: Raleigh, N.C
High school highlights:
How'd He Get to College Park?
What a crazy, long and winding road it has been for Dez Wells. The senior guard will be playing in his third different conference in the last four years. Wells initially committed to and played his freshman year with Xavier, earning freshman of the year honors in the Atlantic-10 after averaging 9.8 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game.
But in 2012, Xavier officials dismissed Wells from the school following an alleged sexual assault claim by a student, which a grand jury later determined was unworthy of prosecution. In fact, the local prosecutor investigating the crime stated that Wells' case "didn't reach anything close to a standard of proof" and "should never have gotten to the point where someone's reputation is ruined."
Following his dismissal from Xavier, in what most considered to be an overreaction by the school before knowing the full facts of the case, Wells quickly completed a four school tour of potential schools to transfer to, ultimately deciding on the University of Maryland over Kentucky, Memphis and Oregon. After being initially denied a waiver request to be eligible to play immediately in College Park, the NCAA reversed their decision on appeal, allowing Wells to play without sitting out a year for the Terps. Subsequently, Wells filed a lawsuit against Xavier for his wrongful expulsion from the school, which was settled out of court earlier this year.
With Maryland making the jump to the B1G this season, the Big Ten will be the third different conference Wells has played in during his collegiate career (A-10, ACC, B1G).
33 points in a win against Boston College last season or his perfect performance from the field and free-throw line against Miami.
With a solid point guard and complementing players, Wells thrives as the focal point of the new Maryland Motion offense, and finishes the season averaging 17 ppg while earning B1G 1st team honors, all while continuing to provide the veteran leadership that he's provided since his arrival in College Park.
Dez Wells has certainly been through a lot in his career. After everything he had to deal with at Xavier, he arrived in College Park and immediately assumed a leadership role on a team transitioning to a new head coach. Then he founds out the school he transferred to was moving from the ACC to the B1G. Now, after improving year after year and acting as the foundation for this Maryland team, Wells finds himself with the opportunity to finish his collegiate career by getting Maryland back into the Big Dance this March, their first year in the Big Ten.
Each season, Wells has continued to improve in both his points per game scoring and his free-throw shooting percentage. As a freshman, he averaged 9.8 points per game, improved to 13.1 his sophomore year and then finished last season averaging 14.9 points per game. He's gone from making 67.5% of his free-throws, to 81.7 last season.
What can we expect from Wells this year? Probably something similar to what we experienced last season, but with continued improvement . Wells has shown the ability to play just about anywhere on the court. If you ask him, he'll even post up and score on a player, if the situation allows. Last year, Wells did a great job getting to the basket and drawing contact. And with an improved free-throw shooting percentage, that paid dividends for Maryland.
With the Terps preparing to utilize what's been coined the "Maryland Motion" offense this season, Wells should be one of the players that benefits most from this new approach. It appears that this new offense will revolve around the senior guard, giving him ample opportunities to score this season. With a lot of capable shooters on this year's team, this new approach should allow Wells to more effectively drive the lane, as opposing defenders will have to respect Maryland's ability to shoot from the outside. But if a second defender does come to try and stop Wells, he's shown a great ability to pass in traffic, getting the ball to an open teammate who can capitalize and score.
Depending on the personnel on the court at the time, Wells could potentially play at either the two or three spot, occasionally running the point as he did last season.
It should be an exciting and hopefully memorable season for the senior guard from North Carolina.
The start of Maryland's basketball season!