Dez Wells, projected to be Xavier's best player before dismissal from school, will transfer to Maryland, who is now expected to seek waiver for sophomore swingman. (Photo courtesy of The Sporting News)
After his shocking expulsion from Xavier University last month, Dez Wells immediately became a hot commodity in college basketball, as several schools lined up to lure the Musketeers' top returning player onto their roster. This morning, Wells made his pick from his handful of suitors, making a traditional powerhouse's resurgence even stronger regardless of whether or not he is able to play immediately.
Wells announced his intention to transfer to the University of Maryland and coach Mark Turgeon, choosing the Terrapins over Memphis, Oregon and reigning national champion Kentucky. "After careful consideration with my family, I've decided to attend the University of Maryland," said the sophomore wing in a tweet where a picture of a statement explaining his situation was posted. "I've learned that it is a major responsibility that comes with being a student-athlete at all times. I'm thankful that God has blessed me with a second opportunity to continue my education." It is widely expected that Maryland will pursue a waiver that will enable the 6-5 Wells to play immediately, but it is still unclear as to whether or not the Terps will be successful in that endeavor. If not, the swingman will have three years of eligibility remaining in Maryland, beginning with the 2013-14 season.
The arrival of Wells is yet another significant coup for head coach Mark Turgeon, who will soon begin his second season in College Park after longtime program leader Gary Williams announced his retirement in May of 2011. Turgeon has already offset the loss of Terrell Stoglin by positioning Maryland very well for the future with the commitments of Shaquille Cleare and Sam Cassell Jr. to go with a young roster headlined by guards Nick Faust and Pe'Shon Howard, as well as 7-1 center Alex Len and Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz, who becomes eligible next season. The Terps are also considered a strong candidate to land Texas twins Aaron and Andrew Harrison, a pair of 6-5 guards that have made their intentions known that they will be a package deal for whomever lands their services when they announce their decision next month.
In Wells' absence, Xavier's NCAA Tournament chances may have been dealt yet another blow, as the Musketeers had already lost shooting guard Mark Lyons to Arizona and point guard Tu Holloway to graduation. Chris Mack's roster will be younger than it has been in years past, with former Monmouth signee Travis Taylor leading the team as he enters his senior season, and Brad Redford anchoring the backcourt on a team whose X-factor could very well be sophomore swingman Justin Martin, who stands to gain the most from Wells' departure.