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Tuesday, January 4, 2005
Member of historic basketball team shot to death

Associated Press

WAILUKU, Hawaii -- A homeless man who played a pivotal role in the biggest upset in college basketball history was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds two days after being accused of sexual assault, officials said Tuesday.

Police on Maui identified the man as Mark A. Wells, 44, a member of the Chaminade University team that defeated then-No. 1 Virginia and 7-foot-4 Ralph Sampson 22 years ago.

Wells made three free throws over the final 46 seconds of the game to help secure the 77-72 victory for the 800-student NAIA school from Honolulu on Dec. 23. 1982. He had seven points, five assists and four rebounds.

"He was our point guard," retired Chaminade coach Merv Lopes said in a telephone interview from his home on the island of Hawaii. "He was our quarterback, our go-to guy. He was an outstanding player. He was a well-liked player, too."

Wells was found dead of multiple gunshot wounds Saturday near a hiking trail at Nakalele Point, police said. An autopsy conducted Sunday determined he had been shot six times.

Wells was arrested Thursday for investigation of sexual assault, and released the same day without being charged, Maui Police Sgt. Jamie J. Becraft said.

Wells was living in Houston in 2002 when he came to Hawaii to join other members of the team at a reunion to mark the 20th anniversary of the game, and then stayed in the islands, Lopes said.

Wells had lived with a group of homeless people in a makeshift camp near former sugarcane fields in Lahaina.

Lopes had recruited Wells from a playground in Santa Monica, Calif.