Yesterday morning, Maryland basketball head coach Mark Turgeon received good news that former Xavier standout Dezmine Wells announced he will transfer to play for the Terrapins over Kentucky, Oregon and Memphis.
Wells, a powerful 6-foot-4 guard from Raleigh, had an impressive freshman campaign for the Musketeers, averaging nearly 10 points and five rebounds per game as a starter.
This season Wells–a top 50 player coming out of high school–was supposed to be the centerpiece of the Xavier team. The university, however, expelled Wells after allegations of sexual assault. Criminal charges against him were rejected entirely by the Ohio grand jury recently, but Wells was still forced to find a new home after being expelled.
Xavier’s loss is Maryland’s gain and perhaps bad news for the rest of the ACC, even though Wells will likely be forced to sit out for the 2012-13 due to the NCAA transfer rules.
Landing Wells is huge for Maryland going forward as he gives the Terrapins a dynamic scoring threat on the perimeter that can also get to the rim. Turgeon has a strong nucleus of young talent already assembled to compliment Wells whenever he is eligible, including sophomores Nick Faust, an athletic 6-foot-6 wing and Alex Len, a polished 7-foot-1 center.
Faust averaged nearly nine points a game and was named to the All-ACC Freshman team last season. Netting 6.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocked shots per game, Len looks to be one of the better interior players in the conference in years to come.
Highly-touted freshman Shaquille Cleare (6-foot-9)– the No. 30 overall player in the class of 2012 according to ESPN– should make substantial contributions right away this season for Maryland also.
In the recruiting class of 2013, Turgeon is in the middle of a heated recruiting battle with Kentucky head coach John Calipari and Baylor head coach Scott Drew to land Andrew (PG) and Aaron Harrison (SG), who are the No. 2 and No. 4 overall players in the class according to ESPN.
With the addition of Wells, the young talent on board and continued success on the recruiting trail, it is safe to say that all are signs beginning to point toward Turgeon leading Maryland back to national prominence perhaps sooner than what many expected.