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Maryland’s Dez Wells declared eligible by NCAA

The NCAA has approved the waiver appeal for Dez Wells, officially making the transfer swingman eligible for the 2012-13 season, the University of Maryland announced Wednesday.

After having his initial waiver denied on Oct. 26, the Terrapins filed an appeal with the NCAA Division I Legislative Council Subcommittee for Legislative Relief, overturning the original decision.

“We’re excited for Dez because at the end of the day, the NCAA made the right decision,” Coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “Our staff did an incredible job in putting this NCAA waiver appeal together on Dez’s behalf. Dez has been a welcomed addition, a great teammate, and has made a seamless transition in getting acclimated to our campus. This has been a long process for him and his family, and we’re grateful he can put it behind him and focus on being a student-athlete at the University of Maryland.”

The Atlantic 10 rookie of the year in 2011-12 after averaging 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds per game, Wells will give the Terps a massive boost and figures to start on the wing for Turgeon’s squad in Friday’s season opener against No. 3 Kentucky in Brooklyn, N.Y.

“We’re very happy for Dez as the NCAA legislative relief process provided him with complete and fair due process,” Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said in the statement. “Our staff was personally invested in the NCAA waiver and appeal process because it was in the best interest of our student-athlete. We’re pleased that Dez will be able to move forward and experience all the opportunities that come with being a student-athlete at the University of Maryland.”

Wells transferred from Xavier after getting expelled amid sexual assault allegations that were later deemed deemed unworthy of prosecution by a grand jury. He was held out of Maryland’s exhibition win over Indiana University of Pennsylvania, but made all seven shots  during the Terps’ open scrimmage on Oct. 20.

Suddenly, the top 25 and an NCAA tournament appearance for Maryland seem not so far off.