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For Kayla Wells, it all came down to timing.
And in the end, she decided now was not the time for her to leave Texas A&M.
So in a social media post earlier this month, the 6’ guard let the world know she was back for one “last go-round.”
“I want to thank everyone for their support in this decision. After talking to my family, teammates, coaches and God I believe it will be best for me to stay and finish what has been started at A&M,” her Twitter post read.
It was a monumental decision because Wells was one of the Aggies’ four starting seniors who led the team to a 25-3 record last season and the first SEC regular-season championship in school history. Three of those seniors—Ciera Johnson, Aaliyah Wilson and N’dea Jones—left for the WNBA instead of returning for another season, which the NCAA granted to all players because of COVID-19.
“It was a hard decision,” Wells told The Next. “Do I stay for another year? Do I go and follow my dreams? But I feel like timing is everything. Sometimes it’s not your time to venture out.
“I talked to God and I talked to my family and I felt like it was the best decision for me as far as timing-wise,” she said. “Everybody’s timing is different. I didn’t want to rush myself just because my other seniors left. I couldn’t base my decision off of that.”
Also aiding in her decision was her desire to finish her master’s degree in performance studies. She has already earned her bachelor’s degree in telecommunications.
But the icing on the cake, so to speak, was the opportunity to return to A&M as the team leader and pair up with sophomore point guard Jordan Nixon, giving the Aggies a solid pair of returning starters.
“That was important. Just staying on the team and being able to be that leader—one of the go-to leaders—I felt like that was important for me to get some time of experience being that leader and having people look up to me and being that role model,” said the 21-year-old. “I’m really excited about stepping into that role.”
Wells, who started 92 straight games, averaged 11.5 points per game last season. Ball-handling, passing, rebounding and creating her own shot are areas Wells plans to improve for next season.
Of her pairing with Nixon, the transfer guard who lit up the NCAA Tournament this season, Wells said: “I love Jordan. We are really close on the team and her energy is unmatched. She’s the positive leader who will uplift you and be positive even when things are going wrong, and I feel like I can be that leader that holds people accountable.”
Wells said she feels she needs to be more vocal in her leadership of an Aggies team that will also return senior Destiny Pitts.
“Last year I took the role of leading by example, not really saying much but you can see it in my actions. So I can see [Jordan and me] coming together with this young team that is coming in and work on getting used to the practices and going hard every day and leading by example.”
Wells said she texted Johnson, Jones and Wilson to wish them luck in the draft and cheered loudly for her former teammates as their names were called.
“It was exciting seeing their names pop up. I was so happy for them,” she said. “I was screaming and was so excited for them. I’ve been trying to keep up on social media. I’ll text them sometime this week just to see how training camp is going. I’m so proud of my teammates and so happy for them.”
The Dallas native, out of South Grand Prairie High School, also kept a careful eye on her hometown Dallas Wings during the draft. Her thoughts on their four picks? “They are all great players and they can make an impact on the team,” she said. “All of them bring something different to the table. The Dallas Wings definitely got a steal with those four.”
As she prepares for next season, Wells looked back on a season that—while it didn’t end the way the Aggies wanted—was still very successful.
“When it ended the way it did, it was disappointing. But after the coaches talked to us in the locker room about how proud they were and all the things we went through during that season, it resonated with me that it was a very memorable season,” she said.
“It’s something I will never forget with a group of girls I will never forget. I’m blessed to be able to have played with a team like that and do what we did when we were all going through so much.”