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, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

POSTERIZED: Wyoming’s Josh Adams takes flight

Josh Adams
Associated Press
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Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.

After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.

Video credit: Wyoming Athletics

Defensive progress will determine No. 4 Iowa State’s ceiling

Monte Morris
Associated Press
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Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.

Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.

Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.

Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.

Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.

But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.