I. Renko is a DC-based correspondent for Rush the Court. You can follow him on twitter @IRenkoHoops. He filed this report after Sunday’s game between Maryland and George Mason in the BB&T Classic.
It was almost one year ago when Dez Wells, then a freshman at Xavier, had a starring role in one of college basketball’s ugliest scenes. Wells precipitated the now infamous brawl between Xavier and Cincinnati with a two-handed push of Cincy’s Ge’Lawn Guyn. He would promptly compound his mistake by charging the Cincinnati bench to throw some punches. The ensuing four-game suspension was a black mark on Wells’ promising freshman year, but actually paled in comparison to what followed after the season. In August, Xavier expelled Wells from the university for an alleged sexual assault. While a grand jury would later decline to indict him, by any stretch, the past year was a trying period for the 6’5″ swingman from Raleigh.
Yet on Sunday afternoon after leading his new school, Maryland, to a 69-62 win over George Mason in the BB&T Classic, Wells declared that he is “probably the happiest I’ve been my life.” After the week he’s had, perhaps it’s not hard to see why. Over the past week, Wells set his career high in points not once, but twice, first scoring 23 points in a win at Northwestern in the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, then 24 points in the win over Mason. Over the two games, Wells shot 20-of-28 from the field and scored 1.7 points per shot. And as his coach Mark Turgeon emphasized after the game in praising Wells’ “great week,” it isn’t just his offense that’s been clicking: “More importantly, I thought he defended well and rebounded better than he had.”