Kentucky may not be done adding to the 2012-13 basketball roster after all.
Scout's Evan Daniels reported Wednesday evening that former Xavier standout Dezmine Wells was on the UK campus earlier in the day and may be considering the Wildcats as a potential transfer. Scout's Brian Snow originally broke the story of Wells' potential interest in UK last week with this post on KentuckyScout's subscriber forum.
Wells, a 6-foot-5 wing, was recently expelled by Xavier after being accused of sexual assault, but a grand jury later found that the charges had no merit. He averaged 9.8 points and 4.5 rebounds per game last season as a freshman, earning Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team honors. He was also named The Sporting News' A-10 Freshman of the Year.
Kentucky has at least two available scholarships after losing seven players from this year's national championship squad. If there is mutual interest on both the part of UK and Wells, the next question will be how the NCAA handles his eligibility status. Typically, a transfer would have to sit out one year, but the unusual circumstances of Wells' expulsion from Xavier could lead to an appeal on his behalf.
Wells must also scramble to get enrolled in time to begin the fall semester at his new school.
His case has drawn national attention during the last week after Hamilton County, Ohio, prosecutor Joe Deters urged Xavier to "revisit" its ruling. He would later tell AM 700 WLW in Cincinnati that the decision was "fundamentally unfair" without allowing the legal process to play out.
Wells, a Raleigh, N.C., native, has ties to former UK All-American John Wall. They both played at Word of God Christian Academy, which may have led to Wells' interest in the Cats. He is also reportedly considering Memphis, Maryland, N.C. State, and, until Wednesday when it was revealed that the Cardinals did not have any scholarships available, Louisville.
Scout's Daniels said Wells is a player who could make a "major impact" for Kentucky.
"He's strong, athletic and brings toughness to the table," he said. "He's particularly great in transition and can really score around the basket. On top of that, he defends and rebounds his position very well."
Some have compared Wells to a bulkier, more explosive version of former Cat DeAndre Liggins. He had two double-doubles last season, including 14 points and 10 rebounds against Notre Dame on March 16. His Xavier profile also notes that he was a finalist for "Dunk of the Year" on espn2 and once recorded six dunks in a Jan. 11 matchup with Duquesne.
Snow said Wells had a strong reputation on the Xavier team and was well-liked by his teammates and coaches. On the court, "he's a freak of nature, athletically. He's one of those kids who, if he doesn't make the NBA, he could make the NFL. He's that type of athlete."
Wells has become a much better perimeter shooter since originally coming to Xavier. He shot 38 percent from 3-point range last season.
"When he got there, he couldn't shoot a gun," Snow said, "but he's put in a lot of work on it and gotten much better. If he keeps improving, he'll be in the NBA someday."
Stay tuned to KentuckyScout for updates on Wells' status as they become available.
Potential transfer on Kentucky campus
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