Wells lifts Red in scrimmage win

By Tom Clegg

assistant sports editor

Don’t expect Andrew Wells and Donnell Thomas to average over 25 points per game this season, but that’s what the NIU sophomores have done after the Huskies’ first two scrimmages.

Wells, a 6-foot-7, 191-pound Dallas Comegys look-alike, led all scorers with 27 Thursday night at Geneva High School as the Red beat the White 92-88 in an intrasquad scrimmage. Thomas led the White with 26. In the team’s first scrimmage last Saturday, Thomas notched 27 and Wells 25.

Wells, whose point production has made his resemblance to the former DePaul Blue Demon star all the more striking, averaged just 4.1 ppg last season.

It was clear from the outset that the main event would be Thomas against Wells under the backboards. Thomas, a bruising 6-foot-4 inside player, scored the first knockdown early in the game when Wells went down after tipping in a missed shot.

In the second half, a 20-minute stretch during which Thomas pulled down 12 rebounds, Wells retaliated with a knockdown of his own as he and Thomas wrestled for a loose ball.

“I thought there was excellent effort by both teams,” said third-year head coach Jim Rosborough. “Both ways we had kids hitting the offensive boards. I think it’s clear to everyone that we have a lot of good kids here (at NIU).”

Noticeably absent from the scrimmage was sophomore forward Antwon Harmon, who spent the evening in street clothes on the White bench. Rosborough offered no explanation for Harmon’s lack of participation, other than to say “you can make your own assumptions.” Harmon’s sidelining is presumably related to his involvement in a theft case currently in the courts.

Both Harmon and teammate Brian Banks have been named as defendants in related theft cases. Banks has been suspended from the team for this season. Harmon, however, had been practicing with the team and played in last weekend’s scrimmage.

Sophomore guard Stacy Arrington also missed Thursday’s scrimmage. He was in DeKalb taking a test.

At halftime, the Huskies held a slam dunk contest. Jo Jo Jackson easily defended his crown from last year’s scrimmage at Geneva. Jackson’s closest competitor was a surprise entrant. Ex-Huskie Mike Grabner, who along with former teammate Randy Norman, played intermittently in the scrimmage and nearly took first place in the halftime event.

Jackson’s success during the intermission lit a fire beneath the 6-foot-3 sophomore guard. Jackson scored 12 second-half points for the Red to finish with 18.

Sparking the White late in the second half was sophomore guard Donald Whiteside. His three-pointer with 2:30 left and a layup seconds later brought the White to within two points. But the Red pulled away in the final minute.

Whiteside, who had not been much of an offensive threat in the first scrimmage, poured in 26 points Thursday to share team-high honors with fellow co-captain Thomas. Whiteside’s scoring explosion was highlighted by 4-of-7 shooting from three-point country.

The Huskies will hold another scrimmage Saturday morning at Chick Evans Field House prior to the NIU football game.