Former Xavier standout Dezmine Wells visited Kentucky’s campus Wednesday, and UK is one of three schools with a shot of landing him.
Wells, who was recently expelled from Xavier, is scheduled to visit Memphis on Thursday and see Maryland sometime this weekend. A final decision is expected no later than early next week.
Louisville looked to be Wells’ most likely destination, but the Cardinals have no available scholarships for the 2012-13 season. U of L assistant Kevin Keatts coached Wells at Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia.
Scout.com analyst Evan Daniels said Wells’ trip to Lexington caught many by surprise.
“That’s a big deal having a guy of that caliber on your campus,” Daniels told the Herald-Leader. “We’re talking about a high-level, impact guy. He can pretty much play anywhere in the country.”
The window for students to add and drop classes at UK closed Tuesday at midnight, but Wells can still enroll in the university this fall.
UK spokesman Jay Blanton told the Herald-Leader that a prospective student can still apply to the university. That student’s admission would then become a decision for the particular college to which the student applies. Blanton said the college’s dean would typically make the final judgment.
“Has it happened? Yes. Has it been done? Yes. But it’s not frequent,” he said.
Blanton said there was no specific deadline if a student wanted to take that route.
As for Wells’ athletic eligibility, that would be a question for the NCAA.
“I would say there’s a possibility that he can play this year,” Daniels said. “But you don’t really know until he applies and the NCAA looks it over.”
If Wells is eligible immediately, Daniels said he could have an instant impact on UK’s season.
“He helps tremendously from the (small forward) spot,” he said. “He’s so good at slashing to the basket, and so good in transition, and really finishes well around the rim. He makes toughness plays. He can defend. He’ll rebound. He’s a heck of an athlete. He can help them in a variety of ways, and he’ll be a big addition to whatever school he ends up at.”
If Wells picks UK and is forced to sit out a season, he could encounter a crowded backcourt next year. The Cats are generally considered the favorites to land Andrew Wiggins (if he reclassifies) and the Harrison twins.
But Daniels said UK could probably use those three players and the 6-foot-5 Wells in the same lineup.
“Dez Wells, he is a tough dude. He’s going to be hard to keep off the floor,” he said. “You can get creative. The way they play, they can put as many wings on the floor as they possibly can.”