The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

The student voice of Washington State University since 1895

The Daily Evergreen

Jaylen Wells to test NBA draft waters

Sharpshooting forward had breakout season in crimson
Jaylen Wells pulls up from several feet behind the three-point line, Jan. 13, in Pullman, Wash.

After a breakout season in crimson and gray, star forward Jaylen Wells is headed to the transfer portal/NBA draft.

Wells transferred to WSU from D-II Sonoma State, where he played two seasons and was named a D-II All-American. He was one of the biggest stories of the year for the Cougs, starting off the bench and making his way into the starting lineup to great success.

He posted a statement to social media Thursday morning.

“This has been the most exciting season I’ve had in my career, and it was amazing to see the community rally behind us,” Wells wrote. “With that being said, I am declaring for the 2024 NBA draft while maintaining my college eligibility.”

Wells averaged 12.6 points per game on the season, but that jumped up to 15.8 after he entered the starting lineup. He shot 41.7% from 3-point range on almost five attempts per game and increased that to 43.6% in Pac-12 play.

Wells was the lynchpin of the Cougar offense on some nights, scoring over 16 points 11 times. His season highlight was an electric performance against No. 4 Arizona on national television.

 Wells’ 27 points in that game will go down in Cougar history, and the four-point play he had to tie it and then take the lead will be remembered by college basketball fans everywhere for a very long time.

That was not even close to his only huge moment this season, as it seemed like he was draining an NBA-range 3-pointer toward the end of every close game the Cougs had. He was a vital part of the Cougs this season, and his career so far has shown how talented players at the D-II level can be.

Now, his path takes him to bigger things. 

Oftentimes WSU recruits are undersized or lack some NBA skill that causes them to miss the league despite great talent. That is not the case with Wells. Standing at 6 feet 8 inches, he has the size and outside shooting ability to be successful in the NBA, and he will no doubt see interest.

Unless a team is much higher on him than expected, he will be vying for a spot in the mid-second round. Last year the Cougs had Mouhamed Gueye drafted at the 39th pick, early in the second round. Wells will likely go around the same spot.

With how quickly he went from D-II to D-I, then from the bench to stardom, there is much reason to believe he has what it takes to develop in the NBA. Of course, nothing is certain, but if a team is willing to invest in him early he will likely return dividends.

Wells has until May 29 to decide if he actually wants to leave college. He will know around where he’ll be drafted before then, so his decision will likely hinge on if he is satisfied with his projected position.

No matter what happens, next time they play the Back Home video there is guaranteed to be a clip of his four-point play. No matter where he plays, there is no denying that he will always be a WSU legend. Wells is a special talent, one of the best Coug NBA prospects in a long time whether he goes this year or sticks around.

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About the Contributors
HAYDEN STINCHFIELD, Evergreen sports co-editor
Hayden Stinchfield is a senior in Criminology from Washougal, WA. He is considered by some experts to be the greatest to ever spot birds. Hayden began working at the Evergreen in fall 2022, and became Sports Co-Editor in summer 2023.
BRANDON WILLMAN, Multimedia editor
Brandon Willman is a junior multimedia journalism student from Vancouver, Washington. He started working as a sportswriter for the Daily Evergreen in Fall 2022 and worked as copy editor in spring 2023. Brandon was elected to be the Editor-in-chief starting in summer 2023 and served in the position from May 2023 to February 2024 before transitioning to the role of multimedia editor. He enjoys watching sports, backpacking, and watching horror movies.