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Washington State forward Jaylen Wells broke out this season. Where does he go from here?

Mar. 23—OMAHA, Neb. — Jaylen Wells wore a blank expression as he sat in his locker, deep in the hallways of the CHI Health Center, the site of his Washington State team's 67-56 loss to Iowa State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Saturday.

He wasn't exactly upset, Wells explained. Disappointed, to be sure, frustrated that he couldn't extend his first WSU season another week. But he felt like he had played his hardest, registering a team-high 20 points.

Then came the topic: What does Wells see in his future?

"Going pro, I kind of put that on the back burner until the season's over," Wells said. "I had one mission to focus on, and that was win a national championship. But now that the season is over, I'm gonna think about it. But I wanna be here."

Wells, who finished his first season of Division I ball averaging 12.9 points on 43% shooting on 3-pointers, has a lot to contemplate. He has the type of frame NBA scouts look for, a 6-foot-8 body with a good shot. He has also gained the attention of other college teams, many of which wouldn't mind having such a reliable shot-maker and defender on their rosters.

Ever since his emergence, since Wells joined the WSU starting lineup in January and instantly infused the Cougs with a scoring punch, he profiled as the team's best pro prospect. It gives him a future to mull in the days and weeks ahead.

"People watching the game — I probably proved myself a little bit," Wells said. "I haven't really thought about the next step as far as going professional. Great season. I'm just glad I had this opportunity to be on this level."

Wells' journey from Division II Sonoma (California) State to Division I Washington State might not be as compelling as his path to whatever is next. His numbers will attract lots of suitors, no matter the level or organization: 44% on 3-pointers in conference play; 61% true shooting percentage; 86% from the free-throw line; 4.6 rebounds per game.

His individual performances tell the same story. In WSU's biggest win of the season, a 77-74 road win over then-No. 4 Arizona, Wells had the winning four-point play, sinking a 3-pointer from the corner and drawing a foul on the closeout, capping a 27-point showing. He totaled another 27 three games later, knocking down three 3-pointers to beat UCLA in Pullman.

In many ways, Wells' development keyed this Washington State season, the program's best since making the NCAA Tournament last in 2008. In early February, Wells began to blossom into a reliable secondary shot-creator, pushing the Cougs across the finish line in a win over rival Washington and in victories over USC and UCLA.

Wells might have finished the season as the Cougars' best player. It has given him the opportunity to make a decision on his future. As WSU gains perspective on this season, Wells might gain clarity on how he fits into the ones to come.