Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon said Friday he expects the process of applying for a waiver to grant Xavier transfer Dezmine Wells immediate eligibility to take about four to five weeks.
Wells, a sophomore wing, formally signed with the Terrapins on Friday. Wells committed to Maryland on Tuesday after visits to Kentucky, Maryland, Memphis and Oregon.
Wells played last season at Xavier, but was expelled last month for what the school described as a “serious violation” of the university’s code of student conduct. A Cincinnati grand jury rejected criminal sexual assault charges against Wells last week.
Turgeon said it would take a week or two for Maryland to construct a case for a waiver. The NCAA would then likely take about three weeks to respond.
“I’m always optimistic but we’ll put together a good case,” Turgeon said. “It’ll be out of our hands and we’ll respect the decision whichever way it goes.”
Wells averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds last season as Xavier went 23-13 and reached the NCAA tournament’s round of 16. He was a member of the Atlantic 10 all-rookie team while starting 32 games for the Musketeers.
Were he to receive a waiver, he would join a group of wing players that includes sophomore Nick Faust and freshman Jake Layman, among others. If the request is denied, he will sit out this season and have three years of eligibility remaining.
Should Wells become eligible in 2012-13, it is uncertain how his addition would impact playing time on a roster that returns only four of its top 10 scorers.
“If I was worried about it, I wouldn’t have taken him,” Turgeon said. “It’s a situation where you just try to bring in pieces. After last year when we had injuries and we didn’t have enough depth, I’m going to make sure that doesn’t happen again. There’s no guarantees Dez will play this year. We’ll just try to acquire talent and mix it all together.”
Wells is one of three transfers Maryland added this the end of last season. Forward Evan Smotrycz arrived from Michigan in the spring and will sit out this season. Albany guard Logan Aronhalt graduated from the America East school and will play this year as a graduate student.
Turgeon said Maryland has yet to approach Xavier for assistance in securing the eligibility waiver.
“I think that would be a key component in his waiver if they approve of it,” Turgeon said. “We haven’t gone there yet and even approached that yet. … We’ll cross that bridge when it comes. This week, we were just trying to get him into school. We’ll start working on the waiver a lot more next week.”
—- Patrick Stevens