Terrapins men’s basketball guard Dez Wells generated national buzz in March when he dropped 30 points on rival Duke in the ACC tournament quarterfinals, leading the Terps to a convincing 83-74 win.
Entering this season, the college basketball world hasn’t forgetten about the Terps junior as the Los Angeles Athletic Club named Wells to The Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 on Tuesday. The Wooden Award is given to the nation’s top player at the end of each season.
Wells led the Terps last season with 13.1 points per game and has transitioned into a new role this season after starting point guard Seth Allen broke his foot in practice ten days before the opener. A 6-foot-5 natural swingman, Wells has taken over as the Terps’ primary ball-handler.
In Friday’s season-opening 78-77 loss to No. 18 Connecticut, Wells had 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists and six turnovers. Wells scored the game’s final four points, as he helped the team trim a 17-point deficit to one, but he missed a potential game-winning shot with about three seconds to play.
“I thought the first half he was trying to do too much,” coach Mark Turgeon said of Wells’ performance. “But he got more comfortable. It’s hard on him. And he competes. Made some big plays for us down the stretch.”