Former Xavier forward Dez Wells has narrowed his transfer options down to Oregon, Memphis, and Maryland, and the decision will likely come within the next 48 hours, a source closed to Wells told The Post late Sunday night.
Wells, who was expelled from his former school amid sexual assault allegations that an Ohio grand jury later declined to pursue, spent Sunday visiting Oregon after taking in the Terps football game in College Park on Saturday. Wells plans to fly back to his Raleigh, N.C. home Monday evening before discussing his options with his mother and sister.
“I credit Maryland, they really got his spirits up,” the source said. “It was a blessing to me to hear. It started out a rough week for him. He went through Kentucky, Memphis, but Maryland was the first time I heard the excitement back in his voice.”
The source said he heard from Wells “every two hours” via text while the former top-tier recruit was at Maryland, but never received a message during Wells’s Oregon visit, aside from when he touched down at the airport.
This alone, the source said, could offer a clue into the ultimate decision.
“Just by his excitement,” the source said. “If I had to bet the house on it, I would be betting in the blind, I would have to say, my gut, I know how he felt, sounds like possibly Maryland.”
The Terps have an open scholarship and would almost certainly pursue a waiver to get Wells eligible to play this season, given that, as Hamilton County Prosecutor Joe Deters said last week, his expulsion was the result of “something seriously flawed” in the university’s judicial process.
Wells would offer depth to the Terps back court, plus NCAA tournament experience. Wells averaged 5.3 points per game, including 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds in the second round against seventh-seeded Notre Dame, as the 10th-seeded Musketeers reached the Sweet 16 this March. Wells started every game as a freshman last season and would have been Xavier’s leading returning scorer this season.
Only two current Terps have been on teams that reached the NCAA tournament. Senior James Padgett never appeared as a freshman in Maryland’s two tournemnt games during the 2009-10 season, and Michigan transfer Evan Smotrycz will have to sit out the 2012-13 season per NCAA rules.
Enrollment, as detailed in this Terrapins Insider post Thursday, should not be an issue, regardless of where Wells decides to attend. Oregon is on a tri-mester schedule and does not start classes until late September, while both Maryland and Memphis would have to seek administrative override to let Wells in after classes began. This, according to NCAA bylaw expert and former compliance officer John Infante, should not be a problem.
In Wells’s camp, the decision cannot come quick enough. Kentucky was ruled out earlier this week, and Louisville did not have an open scholarship to offer. Ohio State also cancelled its visit.
“He’s ready to get it over with,” the source said.