Before Terrapins men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon celebrates the addition of another prized transfer, he may want to send a thank you note to the Gossett football Team House.
Dez Wells, a former Xavier standout, announced yesterday morning his intentions to enroll at the university. But days before he chose the Terps over the likes of Kentucky and Memphis, the forward received some counseling from a couple of football players.
After attending the Terps’ season-opening win over William & Mary on Saturday, Wells met up with linebacker Demetrius Hartsfield and wide receiver Nigel King. Both players grew up with Wells in Raleigh, N.C., and encouraged him to come to College Park while spending time with men’s basketball guards Nick Faust and Pe’Shon Howard.
Hartsfield told Wells that Oregon, which the sophomore visited Sunday, was too far away. He wanted him to join “Terp Nation” to bring his talents up north.
“A lot of people don’t really know too much about where we’re from,” Hartsfield said yesterday afternoon. “For him to be up here just as another person from around that area, it means a lot.”
Hartsfield and King weren’t the only North Carolina transplants in Wells’ ear, however. Washington Wizards guard John Wall and Washington Redskins wide receiver Brandon Banks also tried to convince him to join the Terps, Hartsfield said.
“We all have connections to this area,” said Hartsfield, who had only talked with Wells a couple of times before Saturday. “So we were just trying to do whatever we could to get Dezmine here.”
It paid off. Now, the only question remaining is when Wells will don the red and gold. He was expelled from Xavier amid sexual assault allegations in late August, and a Hamilton County, Ohio, court decided not to pursue his case last week. If the Terps lose their appeal to the NCAA for immediate eligibility, Wells will have to sit out this season.
No matter the ruling, however, Hartsfield is confident Wells will make the most of his fresh start with the Terps.
“I think everybody deserves a second chance,” Hartsfield said. “Nobody really knows what actually happened, and I think he’s definitely a good person. And if he gets a second chance, which he has, he’s going to show everybody that he deserves it.”