Maryland swingman Dez Wells didn’t look like a man awaiting an eligibility ruling from the NCAA on Tuesday.
There were no obvious nerves, no evident worries.
Instead, the Xavier transfer appeared at ease with his new home as the Terrapins near the start of practice later this week.
“It’s not that tough,” Wells said. “I’m just waiting to see what’s going to happen. The anticipation does kind of build up. You do kind of get anxiety a little bit. You just have to wait and see what happens.”
Wells, who averaged 9.8 points as a freshman last year, was expelled from Xavier in August for a “serious violation” of the university’s code of student conduct. A Cincinnati-area grand jury rejected criminal sexual assault charges against Wells in August.
Wells, who is close friends with Maryland wide receiver Nigel King, quickly settled on attending Maryland. Wells, a native of Raleigh, N.C., was also familiar with Maryland assistant Bino Ranson, who helped recruit him to Xavier.
“I think he feels comfortable here,” coach Mark Turgeon said of Wells. “Each day, I think he feels a little more comfortable.”
Maryland and Wells filed an appeal with the NCAA to secure immediate eligibility to play this season. However, it is uncertain when the national organization will make a decision.
Turgeon offered a ballpark of about five weeks when he discussed the addition of Wells on Sept. 7.
“Nothing’s changed,” Turgeon said Tuesday. “We’re just in the process. It’s a process and we’re going through it. My administration’s been great, the NCAA’s been great, but we have some more time to go on that. I wouldn’t say it’s in the early stages, because it’s not, but there’s still some work to be done on that.”
If Wells is cleared, he would provide instant depth in the backcourt for the Terps.
And if not? Wells plans to contribute in some fashion regardless of the NCAA’s decision.
“Just a voice of reason, somebody who’s been in really, really tough games, some tough away games, who’s played against some really good teams so far in my freshman year and has played with really good players,” Wells said. “I wouldn’t say I know what it takes to be good, but I’ve been on a team with great players so I know how you have to respond to games.”
And so far, according to Turgeon, he’s fit into a 16-man roster filled with newcomers, be they freshmen (five), transfers (three) or walk-ons (one).
“I recruit good guys with good character and I think from day one got along with all the guys on his recruiting trip and has blended in great since,” Turgeon said.
—- Patrick Stevens