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King of the Court
by Nathan Shoup
Jan 14, 2014 | 978 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Senior Trae Wells is a large reason the Raiders are 5-0 in league meetings this season. His 14.1 points per contest are the second most on the team.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Senior Trae Wells is a large reason the Raiders are 5-0 in league meetings this season. His 14.1 points per contest are the second most on the team.
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Tribune photo by John Byrne - Wells breaks full-court pressure in Friday's win at McQueen. The senior finished with 17 points.
Tribune photo by John Byrne - Wells breaks full-court pressure in Friday's win at McQueen. The senior finished with 17 points.
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Trae Wells is the type of athlete coaches drool over and opponents fear.

The Raiders boys basketball team is 12-3, 5-0 in league games and Wells, a senior guard, is a big reason for Reed’s undefeated start to league play.

“I feel like we have a great time this year,” Wells said. “I feel like we are going to keep getting better and we have a good chance this year at doing something special.”

The 6-foot, 3-inch guard is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 14.1 points per contest. Junior point guard Jamel Ramos edges out Wells as the team’s top scorer, averaging 14.3 a game.

But Wells’ greatest impact may come when he is not putting the ball in the hole.

“I really think I pass the ball around well,” Wells said. “I think I can drive, draw people’s attention and then kick it to people on my team.”

Wells leads the team in assists, averaging 5.7 a contest (the team averages 12.7) and also he pulls down a team-high 7.3 rebounds a game.

In the team’s holiday break tournament in Las Vegas, Wells was named to the all-tournament team (24-team tournament) and the co-MVP of the gold bracket (six-team double-elimination bracket). He shared the honor, and a spot on the all-tournament team, with Ramos.

Despite the healthy stats and mounting accolades, Wells does not think he is at the top of his game – yet.

A pretty good football player in his own right, Wells caught 76 passes this year for the Raiders’ state-runner up football team, racking up 1,266 yards and scoring 20 touchdowns. He secured Reed’s spot in the state title game, hauling in the game-winning touchdown in a state semifinal game with 34 seconds left against Liberty.

“I would have to say (that’s the highlight of my athletic career),” Wells said. “That was a big point in my life.”

Because the football season extendextended into early December, Wells missed the early portion of the basketball season and had to miss the first four games of the season because he did not have enough practices to be eligible.

In his first game of the season, Wells came off the bench in the second half against Galena, in the Rail City Classic, and scored nine quick points. The Raiders lost to the Grizzlies that day despite Wells’ second-half effort and fell to 3-2 as Wells finished with 15 points.

“I still don’t think I’m there yet,” Wells said. “I have a long ways to go until I get back to where I was last year but I can’t wait to get there.

“The difference between a football, and a basketball player, shape-wise, is insane. I almost came out and passed out the first week of practice. It’s a big difference but I’m getting back into shape now.”

As the rest of the High Desert League groans over the idea that Wells is not playing to his full potential yet this season, the senior conservatively evaluated his performance this winter.

“I think I’m playing all right,” he said. “I’m just trying to do as much as I can for my team.”

While many would describe his play this winter greater than “all right,” he has done plenty for his team five games into its league schedule and he will likely continue to be a major factor as the significance of games increases.

Wells said the highlight of his basketball career was advancing to the North semifinals as a sophomore and this year’s group has the talent to better that come playoff time.

With other scoring options on the team, led by Ramos and Alonzo Vega (13.4 points per game), and an improving defense, a state tournament berth is well within the Raiders’ reach.

The state tournament is played at the University of Nevada, Reno this winter, meaning both teams that compete in the North title game advance to Nevada’s final four. Win two (regional tournament games) and you’re in.

With his successes and ability on the football field, Wells is hoping to not only call the University of Nevada the host of his final prep basketball tournament, but to call it home.

He has been in contact with a recruiter at the university and wants to try to walk on to the football team where he would grey shirt if making the squad.

“It would be great. That’s a dream I’ve always had,” Wells said.

Wells will know more about his options to play at Mackay Stadium when the dead period ends Thursday.

If he walks on and makes the team, he would play alongside the quarterback from rival Spanish Springs. Hunter Fralick has given a verbal to play for the Pack and plans to red shirt.

It would not be the first time Wells and Fralick would be teammates. The duo went to middle school together where they both played on the basketball team.
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