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Dez Wells, eligibility issues, and the chance for a waiver?

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If there is a silver lining to what’s happened to Dez Wells at Xavier, it’s that he gets to experience the recruiting process in all of its grandeur again.

As everyone has been reporting over the last 24 hours, Wells spent last night in Lexington on the Kentucky campus. He’s also scheduled to visit Memphis and Maryland at some point in the very near future, although I can name at least one college basketball blogger (that’d me be) that doesn’t expect him to end up anywhere other than Kentucky.

But here’s the question that everyone is looking for the answer to: can Wells acquire a waiver from the NCAA to become eligible immediately. The NCAA’s rule on this matter is clear cut with absolutely no room for interpretation. According to Rule 14.5.1.2 from the NCAA rulebook, “A student who transfers to any NCAA institution from a collegiate institution while the student is disqualified or suspended from the previous institution for disciplinary reasons (as opposed to academic reasons) must complete one calendar year of residence at the certifying institution.”

There’s not much wiggle room there.

Then again, there haven’t been many situations like the one Wells is dealing with. Yes, he was expelled from Xavier for what the University termed “serious violation of the Code of Student Conduct”, and which Wells later admitted was another student accusing him of sexual assault. But not only did a grand jury fail to charge him with any crime, the prosecutor went Rambo on Xavier’s decision-making process on the radio.

Most believe that Wells got railroaded by Xavier because the University was dealing with past instances where they mishandled sexual assault allegations. If the NCAA believes he was railroaded as well, will they throw him a bone?

Weirder things have happened.

There are a couple of more issues that will have to work themselves out in this case. For starters, according to Kentucky’s academic calender for the 2012-2013 school year, the last day to add classes was August 28th, also known as Tuesday. Thursday was the final day for late registration at Memphis. He would have until September 12th at Maryland.

A bigger issue?

If Wells doesn’t get a waiver from the NCAA and he enrolls after the 12th day of classes, the semester doesn’t count towards the year he has to sit out.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament chances take a major blow in loss to No. 16 SMU

SMU guard Nic Moore (11) shoots over Gonzaga forward Kyle Wiltjer (33) during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Dallas. (AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
(AP Photo/Jim Cowsert)
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Nic Moore scored 18 of his 25 points in the second half and added 11 assists as No. 16 SMU knocked off Gonzaga in Moody Coliseum on Saturday night, 69-60.

The Zags got 20 points and 16 boards from Domantas Sabonis, but Kyle Wiltjer scored just four points and shot 2-for-17 from the floor.

It wasn’t pretty.

And it may have been the end of Gonzaga’s NCAA tournament hopes.

Entering Saturday, the Zags had an RPI in the mid-60s, enough to keep them in the bubble conversation but not enough to make them anything more than a team that will be projected to end up on the cut-line.

The issue is a complete lack of quality wins on their résumé. Gonzaga beat UConn in the Bahamas. That’s a borderline top 50 win. They beat Washington, another borderline top 50 win. Beyond that? They swept Pepperdine, beat Tennessee and own a win over Montana. None of those are top 100 wins, and that’s why the SMU game was such a big deal. The Mustangs are a top 25 team. This was a road game. This win was the kind of thing that the Zags could pin at the top of their profile.

But Wiltjer didn’t show up, the Zags had no answer for Moore and they’ll head back to Spokane needing, in all likelihood, to win the WCC’s automatic bid if they want to dance.

POSTERIZED: Cal’s Jaylen Brown has his dunk contest entry

California's Jaylen Brown lays up a shot against Oregon State in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Feb. 13, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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Cal picked up a big win over Oregon State in Haas Pavilion on Saturday night, and the exclamation point was this emphatic dunk from Jaylen Brown: