Former Terps guard Dez Wells works out for Wizards, continues to impress

As the NBA workout invitations started coming in, Dez Wells had a dilemma with one in particular: Should he go up to Boston to work out for the Celtics or remain in College Park to walk at graduation?

The former Maryland men's basketball star called his mother for advice.


"She told me to get my butt to Boston," Wells recalled Thursday at Verizon Center, after finishing his workout with the Washington Wizards. "She said, 'I'll see you graduate and walk on that stage in the future.' … I can do it next year.'"

By then, the 6-foot-5 guard hopes to have finished his rookie year in the NBA. Though still far from the shooter he needs to be to make it as an NBA shooting guard, Wells has improved his stock among league scouts and executives.


Wells still is unlikely to be picked in the two-round draft June 25 — he's not a projected selection in any of the prominent mock drafts — but it seems his chances improve each time he steps on a practice court for an NBA team.

"You just go out there and play the way you know how to play, do what you do best, and everything will work out," Wells said. "People tend to mess up when they try to do things they're not good at.

"I think I've done really well. I've got great feedback about [how] my stock has risen and how much they like me and how different I seem in person [as a player] than I do on TV. It's been going really well."

Wells said he has received positive feedback at each workout, from those for the Wizards and Celtics to previous ones for the Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Portland Trail Blazers, Indiana Pacers and Phoenix Suns. Wells said he still has workouts planned with the Philadelphia 76ers, Detroit Pistons and Brooklyn Nets.

"My athleticism, my strength, my ability to get to the basket, my playmaking" have impressed team officials, Wells said. "They say that I look quicker and my body is leaner and my shot looks pretty good."

Wells said his workout Thursday in Washington "went well. It was a lot of fun, competing against some of those guys out there. … I felt like I was at home, so that was good, too."

According to sources who watched Wells last month at the NBA draft combine in Chicago as well as at some individual team workouts, Wells has gone from a prospect with a marginal chance of making a team next season to one who is being seriously considered as a mid- to late second-round draft pick.

Wells might even fit in Washington, which doesn't have a reliable backup to shooting guard Bradley Beal. Given Wizards coach Randy Wittman's affinity for tough, defensive-minded players, Wells could wind up on Washington's draft board.

There's also the connection to Wizards star John Wall. Wells and Wall grew up together in Raleigh, N.C., and their friendship remains strong. Wells said the "dynamic" of their relationship is not based solely on basketball.

"We don't like to talk about basketball. We get enough of that from you guys, everybody else that really doesn't know us that well," Wells told reporters Thursday. "When we see each other, we sit down and catch up and laugh and joke about the fun times we had in high school."

Wells said he doesn't get caught up in the idea of rejoining Wall for the first time since their days at Word of God Christian Academy.

"Whatever happens, happens," Wells said. "I'll be blessed to be on any of these NBA teams. John is a good friend, like a big brother to me. It doesn't matter where I play. I just want to play in the NBA. I would love to be a teammate with John Wall. Wherever I go, I'll be blessed and happy to be there."


Wall didn't give Wells any tips on how to impress Wittman or Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld, both of whom spent time talking to Wells after the workout Thursday.

"No, he didn't give me any" advice, Wells said with a laugh. "He said: 'Go out there and just play basketball; do what you love. Make the right plays, and everything will work out.' "

Wells said he doesn't consider the workouts to be job interviews as much as a continuation of what he has done since he made his first team. There is one difference.

"You go out and do the same drills you've done your whole life," he said. "The only difference is that you have millions of dollars at stake."

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