“Basketball is basketball and you’ve got to look the person you’re guarding in the eye because they’re going to try to kill you. You got to be ready for it for every game. They’re not going to take any slack because of who you are or who you think you are.”

Wells said that he grew up rooting for the Blue Devils, though he lived close to the North Carolina State campus. Part of it was his mother’s influence and the fact that she liked Duke point guard Jason Williams.

“He was so good,” Wells said. “I think Kyrie [Irving, now with the Cleveland Cavaliers] was better than him at Duke, but [Williams] was so good.”

Asked if he rooted against Maryland back then, Wells said, “I don’t even remember them playing Maryland that much.”

No memory of the Blue Devils erasing Maryland’s 10-point lead at Cole Field House in the final minute and winning in overtime in 2000-01?  No memory of the phantom fifth foul on Lonny Baxter in the national semifinals later that season? No memory of Juan Dixon sticking it to the Blue Devils numerous times at Cameron?

“I was really young,” Wells said. “I remember certain clips of certain games, but I don’t remember too much of certain games and what Jason Williams did. I remember my mom talking about [Williams] a lot. I was about 8 years old and I was thinking about playing outside.”

Sounds like my now 20-year old who has a hat autographed by every member of the 2001-02 team but only remembers eating Dip-n-Dots at the Georgia Dome during the championship game.

Layman sighting

Of all the freshmen this season, forward Jake Layman has been the most perplexing. But after looking out of sync and maybe in over his head, the 6-8 forward from outside Boston looked pretty good Saturday.

I will believe it more when I see Layman do the same things he did against Delaware State to an ACC team, but I can finally see him being a spark off the bench for the Terps as the season goes on because he’s certainly more skilled than all of the other forwards on the team.

I was starting to wonder if Layman had a role on this year’s team, and what kind of future he had in College Park with Evan Smotrycz, who is a bigger, more developed version of Layman if not as athletic, sitting out after transferring from Michigan.

Another couple of performances like the one he had against Delaware State should be enough to solidify his minutes for awhile. Turgeon has been doing everything to give Layman a chance, and it seemed like the light went on.

Looking Ahead     

The IUPUI Jaguars (6-11) made the NCAA Tournament a decade ago, but haven’t done much since.  The school most Midwesterners refer to as Ooey-pooey (it’s actually Indiana University Purdue University at Indiananapolis) has fallen in the shadows of Butler and of course Indiana. Why they are coming to Maryland to celebrate New Year’s makes absolutely no sense except for a nice payday. I think one of Turgeon’s New Year’s Resolutions should be playing a few more locals next year like Loyola and Towson – with less guarantee money going out of Maryland’s financially strapped athletic department and more money staying in the state. Just a thought.

don.markus@baltsun.com