Dez Wells

Former Xavier forward Dez Wells chooses Maryland

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Dez Wells, the sophomore forward who was expelled from Xavier last month, has committed to Maryland, he announced on his Twitter account Tuesday.

The 6-5 North Carolina native chose the Terrapins over Oregon and Memphis.

“The last couple of weeks have been the toughest in my life for my family and I,” he wrote. “I’ve learned that it is a major responsibility that comes with being a student athlete at all times.

“I’m thankful that God has blessed me with a second opportunity to continue my education.”

As a freshman at Xavier last season, the ultra-athletic Wells averaged 9.8 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per game. He was named to the Atlantic-10 All-Freshman team for his efforts.

The eligibility situation for Wells could be an interesting one as, though he was expelled from Xavier, widespread criticism of the case surfaced in its wake.

No charges were ultimately filed in the case and the prosecutor went on record to say that Xavier should revisit the case of Wells’ expulsion and the move to expel him was “fundamentally unfair.”

Reports have been that Wells will look to get a waiver from the NCAA, but it is unlikely that it will be granted.

As for Maryland, coach Mark Turgeon has a strong 2012 recruiting class coming to College Park, led by big man Shaquille Cleare and Jake Layman. The Terrapins are also in the hunt for the most coveted duo in the country, Aaron and Andrew Harrison.

Also transferring to Maryland is former Michigan forward Evan Smotrycz. With Wells and the rest and the possible addition of the Harrison twins, Maryland could be a legitimate contender down the line.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Akron reveals special bobble heads for LeBron, high school teammates

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When it comes to discussing some of the game of basketball’s best players, specifically those who went directly from high school to the NBA, a question that’s often asked is where said player would have attended college if forced (by rule) to do so. Kevin Garnett, Kobe Bryant and LeBron James are among those who have been discussed in this manner, and in the case of LeBron he’s got connections to two programs within his home state of Ohio.

LeBron’s connected with the Ohio State program, which is outfitted by the Nike’s LeBron signature line, but there’s another program with an even closer connection. That would be Akron, which is led by head coach Keith Dambrot, and all he did was serve as LeBron’s high school coach at St. Vincent/St. Mary’s HS in Akron during the player’s freshman and sophomore years at the school. Also on those teams were two future Akron Zips in guard Dru Joyce and forward Romeo Travis.

Thursday the school announced that it would be honoring James, Joyce and Travis with bobble head dolls to be given out before Akron’s home games against Buffalo (February 16; Joyce’s bobble head), Bowling Green (February 26; Travis) and Ohio (March 1; James).

All three bobble head dolls are wearing Akron uniforms, which in the case of LeBron allows fans to think back and imagine what could have been. Season ticket holders guaranteed one bobble head per account (on each of the three giveaway days), with the first 750 fans in attendance to receive one as well.

NEW PODCAST: Indiana, Cal, troublesome trends and a weekend preview

California's Jabari Bird celebrates a score against Oregon in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
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The gang is back together again for another episode of the NBCSports.com College Basketball Talk Podcast, with Rob Dauster hosting and Raphielle Johnson and Scott Phillips joining him. Today’s episode touched on big wins picked up Thursday night by California and Indiana, discussing the performances of those teams and also touching on their prospects down the line.

Also discussed were the recent performances of Iowa State, Providence and Texas A&M (which are you more worried about?), and some of the top games on this weekend’s schedule headlined by Kansas visiting Oklahoma. And if you’re a fan of seafood, you may take umbrage with some of Rob’s comments at the beginning of the podcast.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast on either iTunes or Stitcher, and there’s also a link to listen to this podcast below. Thanks for listening.