With the score tied, Shammgod Wells crossed the halfcourt line with 45 seconds left in the game. Without a shot clock and the ball in his hand, he was determined to take the final shot despite the large amount of time left – and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
“After losing yesterday, I wanted to win even more today,” Wells said. “I didn’t care how much time was left. I wanted to take the last shot and I couldn’t leave the ball in their hands at the end. That’s how I am.”
Wells stood a step inside half court and methodically dribbled the ball for 40 seconds, pondering his attempt at a game-winning shot. The clock ticked down to five seconds and he made his move, driving right off a pick and attempting an acrobatic layup in the paint in the face of a defender. In what may have been his final shot in his successful New York City high school basketball career, the ball teased the rim, rolling around the iron before eventually falling off the front.
LaSalle's Shammgod Wells, who played in the Wheelchair Charities HS Basketball Classic on Wednesday, has a number of options for next year.
Failing is not the ideal way to end a chapter of your life, but Wells doesn’t see it that way. To him, failure can be a positive. It gives him a specific blueprint of how to build his game up to where he wants it to be.
“Every game is a learning experience for me, even this kind of game,” he said. “I just have to get into the gym tomorrow and practice the shot I missed all day until I don’t miss it again.”
Luckily for Wells, teammate Jason Murray was able to catch the rebound in mid-air and slam it home with one second left, giving Manhattan an 82-80 comeback victory over The Bronx in the consolation game of the 38th annual Wheelchair Charities HS Basketball Classic on Wednesday at York College. Playing against some of the best players the city has to offer, Wells scored 15 points, good for second most in the game as Fairfield Prep star Terry Tarpey finished with 19.
Wells may be undersized and not as highly recruited by top college programs when compared to his teammates and opponents alike at the Classic, but he believes there’s no better way to showcase his game then to play alongside the best.
“Playing against guys like [Christ the King star] Omar Calhoun and other big names makes me even hungrier to win, to beat them,” said Wells, whose father God Shammgod was an NYC star who played at Providence and then the NBA. “It makes me work harder as a player. I want people to remember my name and to say ‘Shammgod beat those guys; maybe he is on their level.”
“A lot of people told me I wasn’t one of the best point guards in the ‘A’ division because New York City is all guards and there’s too many of them to compete with,” he added. “But I feel like I stood out this year. I led my team in steals, assists and I was up there in points. I see myself as the best point guard in the city and I’m excited to take it to the next level.”
Where the next level will be is something of a question mark for Wells at the moment, though. He’s received interest from colleges like Temple and Assumption as well as prep schools in the region, and he plans to stay on the East Coast in order to stay close to his family. But Wells is not planning to be picky when it comes to choosing a school and when he does make his decision, he will only have one thing in mind and that’s to do what he does best, to continue a career of leadership, clutch moments, and impeccable talent on the basketball court.
“I have a visit soon with Clark University in Atlanta, but my college choice is wide open at the moment. I’m just looking for somewhere I can play and get better,” Wells said. “Whether it’s on defense, scoring the ball, or passing, I just want to contribute in any way possible in college. Any school would be good for me.”