While Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon’s decision to start junior guard/forward Dez Wells at point guard when the season began was made due in part to the fact that Wells was Maryland’s best playmaker, the decision may have done more harm than good in the early going.
For some point guards understanding the balance between setting up their teammates and scoring themselves can be difficult, much less a player who didn’t play the position in the season prior. That issue ultimately slowed down Wells, and ultimately the decision was made to start freshman Roddy Peters at the position ahead of their game at Boston College on Thursday night. And the move paid off for the Terrapins, as Wells scored 22 of his career-high 33 points in the second half of Maryland’s 88-80 victory.
Wells was near unstoppable in the game’s final seven minutes, scoring 18 points and personally outscoring Boston College 18-16 during that stretch. Boston College tried both Joe Rahon and Garland Owens on Wells, but to no avail. However regardless of BC’s defensive issues or their lack of a player capable of containing Wells, it became even more apparent that an aggressive Wells results in a more productive Maryland.
Wells’ offensive rating of 141.7 was his best of the season to date, and his free throw rate against Boston College (61.1) was as high as it has been since the season opener against UConn. As a team the Terrapins, who had four other players score at least nine points, scored a season-high 1.33 points per possession and shot 55.2% from the field. Having a player like Wells in attack mode can open up things for the other players on the floor, and that was especially evident in the second half.
While it would be a bit unreasonable to expect Wells to score 30 points or more every night, it isn’t unreasonable to expect him to be the player who serves as the catalyst for the Terrapins on the offensive end. With one conference win under their belts, Maryland’s going to need that kind of aggression from Wells night in and night out when ACC play resumes in January.
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.