Wells' hard work delivers success on and off the court

DANVILLE – Though high school basketball might not have the reputation as being a high-scoring affair, there is a player at Danville First Baptist who has plenty of experience putting points on the board.

Senior Matt Wells, who averages more than 22 points per game, eclipsed the 1,500-point career mark Tuesday night.

"I don't really think about how many points I score," Wells said. "It just happens."

And it happens a lot.

But don't let Wells' modesty fool you into believing that there aren't hours of practice behind his nearly 70 percent shooting accuracy.

"I work pretty hard (on my own)," Wells said. "I go to the (YMCA) maybe three or four times a week and play pickup games with other people just to improve my game and get more competition to play against."

Wells' coach, Bill Garver, who has coached him for five years, has had the pleasure of watching first-hand the way in which Wells' hard work has paid off.

"I first started coaching Matt in eighth grade," Garver said, "and Matt was a very unpolished player at that time. He has a lot of skills now that he did not have at all as an eighth-grader. The reason he has had the success that he's had over the past few years is he has worked extremely hard.

"Sometimes you see a player, here and there, take a play or two off, and you'll never see Matt do that. He does have a strong will to win, and I think it shows with how he practices and how he plays.

"If there's a loose ball or a rebound and (Wells is) anywhere close, either he'll get his hands on it or he'll come up with it. He's always in top-notch condition."

As if those compliments weren't glowing enough, there's more: It turns out not only is Wells the leading scorer on a 22-3 team, but he's also very much a team player.

"There's definitely no ball-hogging that goes on with Matt," Garver said. "He does understand that a lot of times the offense does flow through him and it's necessary for him to create shots, but he doesn't shy away from making the pass to (result in) an easier shot (for a teammate). He's definitely not a selfish player."

Wells also excels in the classroom. He's on pace to be the school's valedictorian. In fact, his academic success has come so naturally to him that he claims to spend far more time working on his basketball skills than his schoolwork. Though, when pressed, Wells admitted he would probably rather be remembered for his intellect than for his athletic prowess, but only because he thinks that is what his mother would want him to say.

"The only thing I can say is that I've known Matt for about five years and I've had the privilege of being able to see Matt grow up as a good, young Christian man with good morals and good ethics," Garver said. "He does everything to the best of his ability."

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