It’s official, The Dez Watch is over.
Today via a Twitter announcement, former Xavier guard Dez Wells has decided to transfer to the University of Maryland over other schools courting him like Kentucky and Oregon.
I’ve transcribed the letter here, so no link is necessary:
“The last couple of weeks have been the toughest in my life for my family and I. 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. I would like to thank UK, UM, UMD, and UO for their recruitment & interest in me as a student athlete. After careful consideration with my family, I’ve decided to attend the University of Maryland.”
His decision ends what must have been a rough time for Mr. Wells; he was prematurely expelled from Xavier University due to a sexual assault case that was completely thrown out by the court. His scholarship rescinded, and basically with nowhere to play basketball at that point, Maryland (among others) reached out to Wells quickly to try and get him into the school before the 2012-2013 school year. That way, Wells would be able play basketball this season (assuming he gets granted a waiver by the NCAA to play) for whatever school he chose.
After visiting with Kentucky first, then Maryland before finally flying to Oregon and back to Maryland again, Wells made his choice. And what a good choice I think it is.
If, and it’s a big time if, Dez Wells is granted a waiver, it will have ramifications on three major things to watch in the future:
1.) Obviously, the basketball team.
Picking up Dez Wells is absolutely huge for Maryland, as it really has the potential to negate most of ill-effects of losing Terrell Stoglin altogether. Wells is a 6’5 shooting guard who, as a freshman, averaged 10 points and 5 rebounds per contest while starting for Xavier. He is a fantastic all around player, shot 37% from three point range last year, and almost assuredly would be starting at the two for the Terps.
Playing alongside Pe’Shon Howard, Wells would thrive, as he doesn’t need the ball in his hands nearly as much as Stoglin did. Wells is also a lot bigger than Terrell, who was barely 6 feet tall and will likely play more inspiring defense on the other end. Nick Faust will be able to move over to the more natural small forward position, which gives the Terrapins an incredibly good inside and out presence given that Alex Len and other bigs are naturally more inclined to play in the post.
This move could push them into title contention much sooner rather than later.
2.) The amount of scholarships available for the 2013 class.
And then there were two. For now, Maryland only has two scholarships available for the 2013 class of players, which means at some point there could be an issue (I’ll get to that). Of course, Look no further than Dez Wells to realize that players transfer, sometimes they head to the NBA draft, other times they decide to leave for “personal” reasons. Either way, an NCAA basketball scholarship list is like a revolving door, especially at a program like Maryland.
Heck, even Dez Wells could end up declaring for the NBA draft if his season goes as well as I expect it to (again, with the assumption that the NCAA will grant him a waiver).
3.) The Harrison Twins and Roddy Peters
Finally, we get to the Twins and Roddy. Maryland can theoretically only offer two a scholarship next year, which would take Roddy Peters out of the equation since the twins are a “you can’t have one without the other” situation. As I said before,
Alex Len and Dez Wells have a very good shot at heading the NBA after this season, and as I said before, players transfer all the time. If I had to guess, there will be a scholarship available for both of the twins and Peters, but it is an issue to keep an eye on. If Maryland loses out on the twins in the coming weeks then this is obviously a non-issue, but they are still very much in the running for all three. Having all three means title contention; getting two out of three does too, actually. Good problems to have.
Either way, hats off to Turgeon and Co. for enticing a very good player to the Terrapins on such short notice!