All is Wells at WHS

Westfield’s Devin Wells puts up a shot. Wells, now a senior, will play a pivotal role in the team’s success this season. (Photo by Chris Putz)

WESTFIELD – Westfield High School boys’ basketball coach Bill Daley does not want to hear any talk about what is missing from his team this season.
“We lost a lot,” Daley said, moments after finishing practice Tuesday. “Joe (Meade) graduated, we lose our scorer Billy Smith (to graduation), and Justin (Crosby) is moving on (at St. Mary High). But we have arguably the best post player in Western Massachusetts in Devin Wells.”
Over the last decade, Daley has replaced star players such as Manuel “Maui” Diaz, Nate Disessa, Alex Frazier, Alex Garstka, Adam Rivera, Spencer Phillips, Jordan Santiago, and is now entering the realm of life after Meade, Smith, and Crosby (transferred to STM).

Westfield High School boys’ basketball players from the varsity and juniors varsity teams participate in a practice Tuesday. (Photo by Chris Putz)

Wells, a 6-4 senior forward, will be joined by fellow senior, D.J. Florek, who stands at 6 feet, 8 inches. Florek showed flashes of brilliance in spot duty behind Meade.
“His minutes were limited last season,” Daley said of Florek. “But he has looked tremendous this preseason.”
Westfield has a whopping 10 seniors – Wells, Florek, Kyle Murphy, Rob Sullivan, Justin Hebert, Tim Donahue, C.J. McMahon, Connor Sas, Casey Willey, and Drew Kerr – and junior Alex Brown on its varsity squad for the 2012-13 season. A record 75 student-athletes attended try-outs.
“It’s a great senior class,” Daley said. “They’re good kids, hard workers.”
While the senior players, some of whom lack basketball experience but are natural athletes in other sports like football and baseball, will make up the core unit, Westfield will rely heavily on an underclassman – sophomore guard Isiah Headley – to quarterback the team.
Daley described Headley as a “physical, confident” player, who will “struggle at times.”
“Isiah is a very, very gifted player,” he said.
Westfield opens up its season Tuesday, December 18 against visiting Taconic. Tip-off is at 7 p.m.
“We’re optimistic,” Daley said. “We’re a little bit under the radar. …I really think we’re going to surprise some people though. But we need Wells and Florek to play well.”
“We’re a tournament team. We want to win 10 games. Our kids expect to win.”

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