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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Dez Wells Taking His Talents to College Park

Earlier this morning, Dezmine Well's tour of America ended with the announcement that he the University of Maryland will be his next stop. Wells is a great get for the Terps and should be a valuable player as soon as he becomes eligible. According to sources, it is unlikely Wells will be granted eligibility this year so his impact won't be seen until the 2013-14 season. With Wells joining the Terps, they now only have one scholarship remaining for next year's recruiting class - the class that features the Harrison twins.

Don't be mistaken though, I am confident that Turgeon signed Wells with a plan already in place where he can still get the twins. I can't see Turgeon throwing away his hand when he was in line for getting possibly the best package deal in the history of college basketball. Turgeon can work his way around this problem by releasing another player from scholarship - Seth Allen or Sam Cassell Jr would be my guess. The Harrison twins are set to announce in late October so we should find out what happens sooner rather than later. Either way, with Wells on board plus the other moves Maryland has made, the Terps are officially on the road back to a legitimate contender.

EDIT: Maryland should still have two available scholarships available next year. I didn't realize Connor Lipinski was taking up a scholarship this season. Testudo Times posted a helpful chart.

Dezmine Wells will be a big part of that. As a freshman at Xavier, Wells had to share the ball with two ball dominant players in Mark Lyons and Tu Holloway so he didn't get a chance to consistently show what he can do. He did learn how to play without the ball and contribute in other ways to his team. While Wells dismissal from Xavier seems like it could be a big red flag on his character, numerous recruiting analysts who know Wells have spoken on how great of a kid he is. He showed great class handling his move from Xavier. And watching him play, his unselfishness and effort on the court speaks to the type of basketball player he is. Dez Wells with be nothing but a positive influence on his teammates.

Now that we have that out of the way, lets focus on his game. Wells made his biggest impact defensively last year. Standing at 6'5'', Wells has the height of a shooting guard, but with his build, long arms, and outstanding athleticism he fits in great as a small forward. His long arms constantly flashing in the defenders face makes it difficult for players to drive and when they do, they do so without much success. Wells is light on his feet and moves well laterally, while his length is able to keep the small guards who do manage to get on his hip pocket cautious. He does a great job of contesting all shots and closing in on shooters. For a player of his caliber athletically, it is somewhat surprising that he only managed one combined block and steal per game. That is about the only negative thing I can say about his defense, he could stand to make a few more plays. Overall, Wells has great intensity and showed that he can be a lockdown defender in his freshman year - a rare treat.

Offensively, Wells managed to shoot over 50% from the field his freshman season. Thanks to his athleticism and strength, Wells is very explosive around the rim and can fly in from 10 feet out. He looks to dunk on people. He does a lot of damage in transition. In the halfcourt, Wells is an unselfish passer but when he looks to score, he is aggressive going to the rim. He has a great first step and long subsequent strides. He struggles to get all the way to the rim as his ball handling makes him pretty much a straight line driver and he can be shaky under ball pressure, but his athleticism makes it so he doesn't have to get all the way to the cup on the bounce. He doesn't show any fancy dribbling moves and rarely creates his own jumpshot off the bounce, choosing to try to get to the rim once he puts it on the floor, but his first step doesn't require him to get too fancy. He can blow by defenders.

At times, he can be even too quick for himself and lose the ball. He is able to get to the foul line area whenever he wants so a good floater would be a nice addition to his game. Right now, Wells has a tendency to get inside the paint and pick up his dribble once he is swarmed. He doesn't panic once he picks up the ball, showing solid passing skills, but being able to go all the way to the rim regularly is something he needs to work on. He only got to the line 2.4 times a game last year despite the fact that the majority of his shots came inside the 3-pt line.

As a jump shooter, Wells has shown well in small volume. He shot 38% from behind the line, showing a smooth but slightly slow release. He only took 1.7 3s a game as he much prefers to play aggressive. His jumper needs some work, but it isn't a negative. His free throw shooting was a bit disappointing, as he shot 67.5% from the line.

Off the ball, Wells has the perfect build to make cuts inside towards the basket. He demonstrated this ability on multiple occasions through the season and should continue to take advantage of his good awareness level and understanding of moving without the basketball.

Overall, Wells was in line for a breakout year at Xavier with Holloway and Lyons gone, but instead will likely have to sit out a year before suiting up at Maryland. I expect the next time you will see him Wells will play with even more hunger. He should be a much improved player and may end up as the best NBA prospect on the current Maryland team. Wells has a lot of work to do, but he has the talent needed to be a first round pick down the line.

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