UK showing interest in ex-Xavier player Dez Wells

 Posted by at 3:05 PM on August 23, 2012
Aug 232012

Dezmine Wells averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds as a freshman for Xavier last season.
Credit: Associated Press

Dezmine Wells was supposed to be Xavier’s top returning player for the 2012-13 season.

Instead, the 6-foot-5 sophomore was expelled from the school earlier this week after being found responsible for a “serious violation” of the university’s code of student conduct.

So Wells is now looking for a new school, and Kentucky could be a possibility. recruiting analyst Brian Snow, who covered Xavier for several years, told the Herald-Leader on Thursday that UK is one of the schools showing “preliminary” interest in Wells.

Xavier would not release the details of Wells’ expulsion. Several reports have said he was the subject of a police investigation but would not be charged with any crimes.

Wells started 32 of 36 games for the Musketeers last season, averaging 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds. He was suspended for four games in the middle of the season due to his role in Xavier’s brawl with rival Cincinnati.

Despite his troubles at Xavier, Snow said college coaches shouldn’t worry about Wells being a problem at a new school.

“If I was a college coach at absolutely any and every school in the country I would have no problem offering Dez Wells a scholarship,” he said.

Wells has plenty of talent. He was a consensus top-50 recruit in the class of 2011 after finishing his prep career at Hargrave Military Academy, which was coached at the time by current Louisville assistant Kevin Keatts.

Hometown N.C. State is among the other schools being mentioned in connection with Wells’ latest recruitment.

Snow said Wells, who can play shooting guard or small forward, would be a solid addition to any team in the country.

“He’s very good and I think he’s someone that has the ability to play in the NBA one day,” Snow said. “That’s not to say he’s an NBA player right now, because he isn’t. But he’s someone that averaged 10 points and five rebounds a game on a team that was very good. As freakishly athletic as they come. Physically ready for the Marines. He’s someone who has a ton of ability and he’s getting better as a basketball player. I think he can play anywhere in the country.”

This wouldn’t be Kentucky’s first flirtation with a transfer with a questionable past.

Tony Woods left Wake Forest in 2010 after pleading guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault on a female. John Calipari wanted him at UK, and Woods visited Lexington and met with Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and then-president Lee Todd.

Fan reaction to UK’s recruitment of Woods was mixed, and he eventually ended up at Oregon.

But Snow said Wells’ case isn’t the same.

“I would say it was different because (Woods) was at least charged with a crime,” he said. “Anyone with a computer can look up the Hamilton County Circuit Court in Ohio. There are no charges against (Wells).”

Wells would almost certainly have to sit out the 2012-13 season as a transfer. Snow said whichever school lands him could theoretically petition the NCAA for immediate eligibility due to the fact that he was not given the opportunity to return to Xavier and was not charged with a crime.

But Snow concedes that would probably be a losing proposition.

“For PR reasons, I don’t see the NCAA going, “Well, we’re going to reward a kid for being expelled,’” he said. “I don’t see the NCAA doing that.”

If he is forced to sit out a season, Wells could face a logjam of talent at UK in 2013. The Cats are expected to get commitments from guards Andrew and Aaron Harrison, small forward Andrew Wiggins (if he reclassifies) and possibly guard/forward James Young.

That would mean a battle for playing time, but Snow said Wells would be up for the challenge. He also said Wells would fit Calipari’s — or any other coach’s — style of play.

“If there’s a system he doesn’t fit, they need to change the system.”


  18 Responses to “UK showing interest in ex-Xavier player Dez Wells”

  1. No thanks. I’ll pass.

  2. He’s Cal’s kind of guy!

  3. As an XU grad, I thought Xavier should have cut Wells, Lyons and Holloway loose after the Cincinnati brawl. As a lifelong UK fan, I don’t want to see this type of immature thug wearing a Wildcat uniform. They might be good basketball players, but we’re better off without Wells or Lyons.

  4. He needs to be a wildcat at the other place – Arizona; with the other thug from XU

  5. I’m pretty leery about this guy, but one point y’all seem to be missing is that sometimes”immature thugs” grow up. Maybe the expulsion is the kind of wake up call that this kid needed.

    Then again, Cal takes enough grief from the haters that he might not need this added to the pile.

  6. Is UK that desperate for players?

  7. You people Hate The University of Kentucky, Coach Cal, Yourselves, or everyone.

    My thing is with Young People, they can make mistakes, Most do NOT need to go to jail or prison for a mistake. Hopefully most will learn and Grow.

    Now, I am not talking about Basketball, however…Lets Wish the KID….Good Luck….Where ever He is able to get into school, U.K or Harvard….Just saying People…Grow up and give the Kids a chance to as well.

  8. We don’t need a thug at UK. End of story.

  9. Had this individual only been involved in this current issue and not the brawl last year, I’d say give him a chance. But with these two episodes, I’d pass.

  10. Catsmeow got my point. Nobody said the kid doesn’t deserve a chance. But let’s not forget, he’s gotten at least two and blown them both. Sounds like a pattern that we should pass on.

    I hope he grows up and starts making good decisions. I just don’t see how he’s EARNED the opportunity to play at Kentucky with his past behavior.

  11. Span66 – I think you are spot on. I’m all for giving kids a second chance also, but Mr. Wells will be on his third chance. This program takes enough grief for things it doesn’t do. I don’t think bringing in players with questionable character issues is necessary at this time.

  12. Do any of you know Dez Wells? Ever even talked to him? Very well spoken, very approachable, very friendly. You say UK doesn’t want a thug? Change some of your recruiting tactics. Dez is in no way, shape or form a thug. This instance of expulsion is not a reflection of the character of Dez Wells. Xavier is making a statement after school administrators covered up a RAPE for years. Dez Wells is not a criminal, or even a bad person. Whatever program is blessed with the talent, skills, and personality that Dez has to offer will be very fortunate to have him. Saddened by his departure from X, but wish him the best of luck elsewhere. He truly made this campus a better place.

  13. He was involved in a brawl during an NCAA game… We don’t need that type of young man on our campus.

  14. TJ, I don’t know him and I’ve never talked to him, but I did watch him touch off a fight on national tv by shoving an opposing team’s player. Now, if the rumor mill is to be believed, he has been expelled from his team and school for an alleged sexual assault. I think I have a pretty good snapshot of his character.

  15. The University of Cincinnati athlete who placed his hands on Tu Holloway’s face, and proceeded to shove him ignited the brawl. I am not supporting violence in college basketball, I am simply trying to get you to see that he is a young man who let the emotions of and surronding the game get the best of him. As an athlete, you’re taught to take care of your teammates. It’s a brotherhood. It’s your family. When he saw the action of the UC player, as I previously said, he let his emotions take over and took it further. This instance of expulsion, as I said in my initial post, was a quick and irrational decision. If he is not being criminally held accountable, there is obviously a substantial amount of gray area surrounding the accusations. In my opinion, Xavier is covering their own ass due to a previous scandal the university attempted to cover up. It’s a shame what happened to Dez, and he deserves a chance to redeem his name at a better program.

  16. If we’re setting the record straight, let’s mention that Tu Holloway was taunting the UC player in question and later was unrepentant when he declared himself and his team mates “gangsters.” Not really the image I want my alma mater to be known for….

    At any rate, I get that emotions can run high and no doubt there was plenty of blame to go around. It takes maturity to walk away instead of getting sucked into the route all of those involved chose.

    I don’t know the facts of Dez Wells’ case, but I can tell you after a 23 year career in law enforcement that there is a big difference between “not guilty” and “innocent.” I doubt if Xavier would have cut their best player loose if the evidence wasn’t pretty compelling.

    Ultimately, I think we hope the same thing for Dez Wells. That he can grow up and be a happy, productive and law abiding citizen. Basketball is really pretty trivial in comparison.

  17. Actually, sense you really want to set the record straight Span66, Tu was simply responding to all the trash the UC players talked before the game. Kilpatrick for UC said that Tu wouldn’t be able to start on UC. After Tu and X dominated them in the game, Tu did his talking. I see nothing wrong with calling out someone who said you suck, after you destroy them by 23 pts.

    Either way you argue, UC started that fight. They started the trash talk, their player put his hands in Tu’s face 1st, and their players swarmed off the bench and threw the 1st punches, only sucker-punch, and even a curb stomp. Did the X kids react well to any of it? No, and they were punished accordingly. But I guarantee you would not even remember the game if everything stopped after Dez pushed the guy down.

    After reading all of you hate on Dez I really hope he chooses to go somewhere else and kicks the crap out of both UK and XU…. He deserves it

  18. I must have missed the day in practice when my coach taught us that it was ok to act like an idiot just because somebody on the other team disrespected me.

    As I said before, there is plenty of blame to go around. The bottom line as it relates to Dez Wells is that his past actions speak louder than any words to the contrary.

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