The Maryland Terrapins scored big, winning the race to secure former Xavier swingman Dezmine Wells, according to a Tuesday Lockerz post from Wells' Twitter account.
The successful recruitment of Wells is yet another big play from coach Mark Turgeon in his effort to increase Maryland's overall talent level. Wells is the third Division I transfer to join the Terps this offseason, joining Evan Smotrycz (ex-Michigan) and Logan Aronhalt (formerly of Albany).
Of the three, Wells is the only one rated as a potential game-changer, but Aronhalt is eligible this season and should be an immediate contributor off the bench.
Wells' appeal for immediate eligibility will be a major factor going forward for Maryland, not just for the 2012-13 season, but the program's future.
If Wells is allowed to join Maryland this season, he can slide into an immediate starting position. That would give Maryland a starting unit of Pe'Shon Howard, Nick Faust, Wells, James Padgett and Alex Len, a top five well-equipped to compete in the rigorous ACC.
In addition, a player like Aronhalt would be allowed to ease into ACC play as a steady bench contributor instead of being thrown in as a starter fresh out of the America East Conference.
The Terps' touted recruiting class, led by burly big man Shaquille Cleare and sharpshooter Jake Layman, would be forced to earn its time on the court instead of being handed starters' minutes. Top to bottom, Maryland's roster could match up well with nearly any ACC rival.
Future recruiting efforts could be shaped by the NCAA's decision on Wells, as well. The Terps are still on the short lists of players like Charlotte center Kennedy Meeks, point guards Rysheed Jordan (Philadelphia, PA) and Roddy Peters (District Heights, MD) and the highly-sought Harrison twins of Richmond, Texas.
Most likely outcome for Maryland in 2012-13?
An immediate debut for Wells could make Maryland a dangerous NCAA tournament team, perhaps swaying the decisions of recruits interested in winning a title on their way through college. If Wells sits out this season, the Terps could still be an intriguing bubble team.
Either way, Maryland now has two scholarships available for the 2013-14 season, which makes a sizable recruiting class problematic.
Turgeon's best-case scenario could involve early departures for the NBA. If Len or Cleare establishes himself as a major pro prospect, the other staying alongside incoming freshman Demonte Dodd could keep the low-post cupboard from emptying. The third scholarship would allow Turgeon to pursue the Harrisons and another player, which appears to be the desired outcome for the Maryland faithful.
Less desirable might be the loss of Faust, but if it allows Andrew and Aaron Harrison to become Terrapins in 2013, that's a trade Terp Nation would gladly make.