Dez Wells2

Maryland’s Dez Wells switching jersey number to honor late former teammate

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Maryland senior guard Dez Wells will have a different jersey number for his final season of college basketball as the North Carolina native will honor the memory of his late former grassroots teammate, Detrique Baker.

Although the switch from No. 32 to Wells’ new number, 44, hasn’t taken place on the official Maryland basketball website, Wells told the Baltimore Sun on Friday that he plans on making the switch.

Wells and Baker played together on the CP3 All-Stars in high school and Wells said he and the 6-foot-9 Baker talked about potentially playing at Xavier together after high school.

“We were both being recruited to go to Xavier,” Wells told the Baltimore Sun.

Xavier ended up landing Wells after a year in prep school, but Baker was killed in a car accident on July 1, 2010. According to reports, Baker was one of four passengers who were killed when the SUV they were traveling in overturned and crashed near Raleigh. Baker was identified by a basketball tattoo on his chest and another tattoo that featured his mother’s name on his arm.

“I always wanted to wear 44 to honor him,” Wells said.

The number 44 was never available to Wells until this season. At Xavier, Wells wore the No. 5 — as 44 was taken — and the last two years at Maryland former big man Shaquille Cleare wore the number before transferring this offseason. Cleare’s departure paved the way for Wells to claim the No. 44 to honor his late friend.

But as the Baltimore Sun story notes, Wells isn’t the only player to wear the No. 44 to honor Detrique Baker. Another former member of the CP3 All-Stars, Rodney Purvis, wore No. 44 at the McDonald’s All-American Game in 2012 and also opted to take the same number when he transferred to UConn from North Carolina State last offseason.

This is a nice story and a nice way for Wells — and Purvis — to honor the memory of Detrique Baker.

Bill Self on Cheick Diallo: ‘It may be a couple of more weeks’

2015 McDonald's All American Game
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Cheick Diallo is currently practicing with Kansas, but his eligibility still remains in question.

On Monday, Kansas head coach Bill Self appeared on “The Border Patrol” on WHB-AM 810 and was asked to update the status of his freshman big man.

“He’s been cleared to practice,” Self told hosts Steven St. John and Nate Bukaty. “(His status) is depending on what they find throughout from the information we submit to them whenever we get it all together.

“A lot of people think, ‘Well, why wouldn’t it all be together?’ Well there’s a lot of reasons why. It’s because they told us recently some things that they just wanted. Instead of just throwing it to them piece by piece, they requested we to just submit it all together, so it may be a couple of more weeks before we’re able to submit everything when you’re talking about getting information from schools in Mali and everything like that.

“But we hope in two weeks, maybe three weeks, before we have a definite answer. But right now, Cheick is like everybody else. He’s practicing.”

Diallo, a 6-foot-9 forward from Mali is allowed to practice with the Jayhawks, but has been waiting to be cleared by the NCAA Eligibility Center despite enrolling in classes over the summer and earning six credits. Self anticipated this would be a long process, but has remained confident Diallo, the top-5 recruit in Class of 2015, will eventually be cleared to play this season.

For three years, Diallo attended Our Savior New American School in Centereach, New York, which is currently under NCAA review. In September, Pitt freshman Damon Wilson, Diallo’s teammate at OSNA, was cleared to play.

Kansas opens the season on Nov. 13 against Northern Colorado.

Albany’s Peter Hooley accepts Inspiration Award

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Last week, Albany senior Peter Hooley accepted the Inspiration Award at the Coaches vs Cancer Basket Ball in Troy, New York. The Albany athletic department uploaded his entire speech on Monday afternoon.

Hooley had one of the most uplifting moments of March after months and months of heartache.

The junior guard missed three weeks of the season to travel back home to Australia to be with his mother, who was battling colon cancer. She passed away in January. Hooley returned to the team in February and the following month, the Great Danes had a shot at an NCAA tournament berth. In the America East Tournament championship, Hooley sunk a game-winning shot with 1.6 seconds to go.

Hooley, who graduated in May, was selected to give the commencement speech.