Last Saturday, at the open scrimmage held by the basketball team at Comcast Center, I had the opportunity to watch Terrapins transfer guard Dez Wells play in person for the first time.
Wells did not disappoint in any way, shape or form during the half hour long scrimmage in front of the Terrapins faithful who took a break from their Homecoming tailgating to sneak a peek at this season’s team in action. Wells started the scrimmage on the red team alongside Seth Allen, James Padgett, Shaquille Cleare and Logan Aronhalt. For the vast majority of the scrimmage Wells was going up against sophomore guard Nick Faust and more than held his own against the Terps incumbent starter.
I came into Saturday’s scrimmage excited to see what Wells looked like in person and he was as advertised. You can take one look at Wells and see why he was as effective as he was as a freshman at Xavier last season. He’s got the type of body that will easily absorb contact in or around the paint and he displayed a feathery touch on his jump shot that you don’t always see out of players who can make their living getting to the rim.
Without mincing words Wells was one of the best players on the floor during the scrimmage. He brought the red team back from a large deficit in part due to the fact that he ran off 13 straight points for his team. Whether he was driving to the bucket or pulling up from the outside Wells was able to do whatever he wanted to on Gary Williams Court, and the team made up mostly of the projected starters had no answer for him.
While this was exciting to see and even more exciting to write about now it did bring one bit of concern to my attention as my colleague Mike Willis and I sat there watching him play: Wells looked like he could be the best player on the floor during that stretch, but as of this post, we still don’t know what his fate will be for this upcoming season. If Wells has his appeal granted and doesn’t have to spend this season sitting out per NCAA transfer rules then let me be the first to say “Oh happy days!” and fist pump the air in delight.
However, if his appeal is denied and the Terrapins are forced to move forward without Wells having a role in the rotation, it would be a wasted opportunity and a tough pill to swallow for Maryland fans everywhere. Were his appeal granted there is little to no doubt in my mind after watching him play in person that Wells would be a starter and a major impact player for this program going forward.
This is the same sentiment the national analysts that have stopped by College Park to see this team in the preseason so far have towards the Terrapins. With Dez Wells the Terps are looked at as a sure fire NCAA tournament team with a chance to do some real damage. Without Wells, we’re largely considered a bubble team that would likely have to play itself into the tournament with some big wins in early March. Amazing the difference the presence of one player can potentially make, but in this case I am more than inclined to agree with those ideas.
Tomorrow will put us exactly two weeks away from tip off against Kentucky at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY and we still don’t know the fate of, potentially, one of our best players. One way or another Dez Wells is going to do some fantastic things in College Park during his career as a Terrapin. All we can do now is sit back and wait to see whether those great things will begin happening this season or whether we will all have to wait until 2013-2014 to see what the former Atlantic 10 Freshman of the Year can do in the ACC. Regardless of the outcome of his appeal, the future for Dez Wells at the University of Maryland looks like it will be bright.