Mar 16, 2012; Greensboro, NC, USA; Xavier Musketeers guard/forward Dezmine Wells (5) looks of an open player against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the first half of the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at Greensboro Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-US PRESSWIRE
Between landing Michigan's Evan Smotrycz and Albany's Logan Aronhalt, Mark Turgeon clearly has no qualms about recruiting transfers. It looks like he'll take that trend a step further, as Maryland appears to be one of the top choices for highly-regarded former Xavier Musketeer Dezmine Wells.
According to my source, Dezmine Wells will visit Memphis, Maryland and Louisville. Dates forthcoming.— Dave Telep (@DaveTelep) August 28, 2012
Wells, a former teammate of C.J. Leslie's at Word of God, was a four-star prospect and top-50 player back in 2011, and averaged 26 minutes and 10 points per game in his freshman campaign at Xavier. He was expelled from Xavier last week for an undisclosed criminal matter ... and was shortly thereafter completely exonerated with the judge calling the expulsion "fundamentally unfair" and "an injustice."
This could get interesting.
Wells' eligibility is tricky; clearly he shouldn't have been expelled from Xavier, but the NCAA has never been a particularly forgiving institution. It's also starting to get pretty late to be enrolled - Alex Len was announced around this time last year, and as I recall he was starting to push the limit as far as dates were concerned. I wouldn't be shocked if he somehow became eligible this year (likely second-semester) or had to wait out the full season, or anything in-between.
But make no mistake, Wells is worth the hassle. He's a swingman who stands at 6-5, is built almost like a linebacker and is absurdly athletic. Physically, he matches up with anyone in the country, for both power and explosiveness, and he has a great motor and attitude for the game. He isn't a particularly developed player in his skillset or as a shooter, but he can be a massive difference-maker defensively, on the break, or slashing to the rim. He's similar to Justin Anderson in many ways, though probably a better player at this point. (To be expected, given that he has an extra year of development.)
Maryland, of course, still has an open scholarship for the 2012-13 season, and so could easily accomodate him without forcing anyone out, though things would get a bit tight for the 2013 recruiting class. Maryland's not exactly hurting for wing players, but unless the staff is really, really confident in the freshman and Aronhalt, things aren't really ideal, either. It'll be interesting to see if anything more comes of this.
Either way, along with Smotrycz and Aronhalt, this is the third time in the past few months Maryland's staff has pursued a creative and opportunistic option. That's really encouraging to see, and that flexibility bodes well for the future.