Each week during the 2013-14 season a Maryland student-athlete, who has shown excellence on and off the playing field, will be selected as the Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week. This week's Solomon Eye Associates Terp of the Week is junior Dez Wells of the Maryland men's basketball team.
Encircled by a throng of reporters following a career-high 33-point performance against Boston College last Wednesday, junior Dez Wells quickly turned the attention away from himself.
Unprompted by reporters, Wells gushed over the game-clinching play made by unheralded teammate, Jonathan Graham, whose tip-in with 80 seconds left gave the Terrapins a critical six-point lead.
“How about Jon Graham’s tip-in?” Wells exclaimed. “That was the play of the game!”
Wells’ reference to Graham’s play was a testament to the significant strides he has made as a leader since transferring to Maryland last season.
“Dez has taken that leadership role and he’s doing great with it,” said sophomore forward Jake Layman. “We all look at him as one of our leaders.”
Wells’ leadership on the court against Boston College was increasingly apparent as the Terrapins struggled to stave off their charging ACC foes. After the Eagles jumped out to a four-point lead, 64-60, the Raleigh, N.C. native carried the team down the stretch.
“At the four-minute timeout it was like, 'Let's use clock and let Dez do his deal,'” said head coach Mark Turgeon. “You could sense it. He was bigger and stronger than them.”
Wells responded to Turgeon’s encouragement by muscling through the Boston College defense, attacking the basket to score 18 points in the final seven minutes to lead the Terps to victory. The run included four separate baskets in which he was fouled and sent to the line.
The conference road victory was a positive step in the right direction for the Terps, who won just two ACC games on the road last year despite accumulating 25 victories.
Wells followed his incredible 33-point performance with a more all-around outing three days later against Florida Atlantic, notching 10 points and six rebounds while also adding two assists and two blocks with zero turnovers.
Key to Wells’ recent success has been the emergence of freshman point guard Roddy Peters, who scored a career-high 14 points of his own at Boston College. Peters’ improved point guard play has allowed Wells to flourish from his natural position as a combo guard.
As Peters has grown more comfortable in the Terrapin offense, Wells’ production has risen exponentially. Through the first seven games of the season, Wells averaged 12.9 points and 2.9 turnovers per game. He has since averaged 19.5 points and just 1.25 turnovers.
Wells and the Terrapins continue their nonconference slate Saturday as they welcome Boston University to Comcast Center for a 1 p.m. tilt.