It hasn't taken long for Mark Turgeon to restore faith in Maryland basketball. He immediately hired the highest paid assistant in the nation – one who could land hometown recruits – he found an athletic 7-0 center from Ukraine, his first full recruiting class consisted of five solid players, and he topped that off with Logan Aronhalt and Evan Smotrycz – two highly sought after transfers.
But with Terrell Stoglin off the team, Maryland wasn't expected to challenge the ACC elite – yet.
Well now there's news that the winding journey of former Xavier star Dezmine Wells is going to end with the Terps.
— Adam Zagoria (@AdamZagoria) September 4, 2012
Wells had signed with Xavier prior to his junior year in high school, and then his stock blew up. He entered college as the consensus No. 54 player in the 2011 class.
He's capable of playing the 2-guard, but he's really an undersized (6-4) wing. But don't let that worry you Terps fans, the kid is tenacious. He grabbed 16% of the defensive boards, which was only slightly behind 7-0 center Kenny Frease. Ashton Pankey and Alex Len are the only Terps who bettered that number.
He also excelled on the offensive end. His 108.1 offensive rating was remarkable for a freshman, and was higher than everyone on Maryland's roster not named Terrell Stoglin. He did it by making 37.7% of his threes and 54% of his twos. He was only an average free throw shooter (68%). He averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds, playing 55% of the team's minutes. He had a double-double (14 points, 11 rebounds) in Xavier's opening round upset of Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament.
Maryland's roster now includes five former consensus top-100 recruits. They still have two scholarships available.
If Wells is cleared to play immediately, he is the caliber of player who could be the most important transfer of the season. This would immediately bump Maryland's projected finish up at least a spot or two.