VU catches on to rising star Wells

Photo courtesy of Todd Franklin

Christian Wells played at the same high school that his father, former NBA player Bonzi Wells, did at Muncie Central. But his game didn't take off until last year at Washington (N.C) Prep, where he averaged 22 points and 11 rebounds per game.

Bonzi Wells was considered among the best in Indiana when he played high school basketball at Muncie Central. He went from Ball State to the 11th pick of the 1998 NBA draft and had a 10-year NBA career.

Now it's his son's turn. Christian Wells made a big jump this past year at Washington (N.C.) Academy, tallying 22 points and 11 rebounds per game. It was a significant leap for Wells, who was selected All-State but only an honorable mention pick the year before at the same school his dad attended, Muncie Central.

Division I schools started to contact Christian Wells, but the 6-5 left-handed forward wanted to build on last season. He decided Friday to do that at Vincennes University.

Trailblazers coach Todd Franklin said it's the first time one of his recruits was the son of a former NBA player.

"He plays like Bonzi did, so he has a lot of innate things in his game. He has a good feel for basketball. He sees it, understands how to use his body and understands the pace of the game," Franklin said. "He can literally play the 4-through-2 positions. He has good size, at 6-5 and 220, with wide shoulders, long arms and good hands. He can post up, put it on the floor, make a 3, make a pass and make an extra pass. He moves well and can guard bigger and smaller guys than him."

Franklin called Wells "a late bloomer," and said the younger Wells has put the time in on the court and the weight room in the past couple of years in an effort to follow his father's path. That wasn't always the case, as Franklin said the VU recruit weighed 280 pounds as a freshman and looked heavy when he saw him play when he was a junior.

But the younger Wells started to embrace basketball. He became a lot stronger when Franklin saw him as a senior. His game didn't really follow suit until he went to prep school after his senior year.

"Christian is willing to blend in with other good players, but at times he did that too much in high school. He was more a dominant guy at Washington, which saw some good competition," Franklin said. "I was impressed with what I saw on tape and the improvement in his game. He wanted to continue his ascent. Christian had Division I offers, but he's looking to improve his game and to get to better places.

"He should be a good player for us. Christian's ability to do different things and blend in should help him to get significant playing time here," he said. "He's already at legit D1 player. He should be a good player in juco."

Wells is the third versatile forward on the roster, joining 6-5 returnee Kevin Osawe and 6-6 recruit John Ukomadu.

"The game is going to position-less basketball, and Christian is one of those guys," Franklin said. "We think we have guys now who we can move around, such as Osawe and Ukomadu, that allows us to get some mismatches and some variety too."

Wells is VU's third recruit, joining Ukomadu and 6-0 Patrick Fisher, with Ukomadu the only one coming straight out of high school. Franklin said he expected to sign four more players in the 2019 class.

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