Dez Wells’s decision to transfer to Maryland has College Park abuzz, and Terrapins linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield is at the epicenter.
Wells, a swingman who played his freshman season for the Xavier basketball team, announced earlier Tuesday that he intended to enroll at Maryland and play for Coach Mark Turgeon. Both Wells and Hartsfield are from Raleigh, N.C., and Hartsfield flashed a wide grin when asked about the news.
“It means a lot,” Hartsfield said. “A lot of people don’t know too much about where we’re from. When you think of Raleigh, you think of N.C. State. Just for him to be up here, another person from that area, I know the ability he has, and I want our basketball team to succeed.”
Hartsfield and freshman receiver Nigel King grew up in Raleigh with Wells. Wizards guard John Wall was a former teammate of Wells at the Word of God Academy, as well.
“We all have connections to this area,” Hartsfield said. “We were all trying to do what we could to get Dezmine here. Him knowing John, me, even Brandon Banks of the Redskins. This past weekend, we were trying to convince him.”
Hartsfield made his pitch to Wells while hanging out with junior guard Pe’Shon Howard and sophomore guard Nick Faust after Saturday’s season-opening win over William & Mary. Oregon, one of Wells’s options, was too far away, Hartsfield said. Just come and become a part of Terp Nation.
It worked. Whether Wells will become eligible this season is unknown. He was expelled from Xavier amid sexual assault allegations, even though an Ohio grand jury declined to take it to trial. Maryland will certainly apply to the NCAA for a waiver of the usual sit-out period for transfers, so Wells could play this season.
Placing the past in the rear-view mirror and moving on to a future in Turgeon’s program will be top priority, according to Hartsfield.
“I think everybody deserves a second chance,” Hartsfield said. “I think he definitely’s a good person. If he gets a second chance, which he has, he’s going to show everybody that he deserves it.”