Dezmine Wells, Andrew Nicholson

Dez Wells will be a major addition for the Terps

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When news broke on Wednesday morning that Dez Wells would, surprisingly, be allowed to play immediately this season, the reaction was immense.

Rightfully so. Wells is legit.

But it was also a bit overblown. One writer went as far as to say that the ACC would be a four-team race this year.

That could end up being the case, especially since NC State, Duke and UNC all have some question marks heading into the season. I’m not ready to take it quite that far just yet, but what I will say is that Wells makes Maryland the fourth-best team in the ACC and a group that should make the NCAA tournament this season.

Why?

Because Wells fills a need for Maryland. The Terps have a low-post scoring presence in Alex Len, they have a play-making point guard in Pe’Shon Howard and they have a scorer and shooter on the wing in Nick Faust. Throw in a couple of solids pieces off the bench (Logan Aronhalt, Seth Allen, James Padgett) and a talented pair of freshmen to rotate through the four-spot in Jake Layman and Shaquille Cleare, and the only this that Maryland is really missing is a lockdown perimeter defender that can help on the glass.

That’s Wells.

That’s precisely what he does best on a basketball court.

A 6-foot-5, physically and athletically blessed wing, Wells is a blue-collar talent. He makes Maryland better on the defensive end of the floor for a myriad of reasons: he’s another big perimeter player, he can lockdown a go-to scorer, and he can sneak on and grab defensive rebounds, which will take some of the pressure off of a Maryland frontline that is young and slender.

Wells can also knock down an open three, get out and fill a lane in transition and he’s one of the most explosive finishers in the college game. He adds another dimension to Maryland, one that will allow them to better matchup athletically with teams like, say, Kentucky, who they play on Friday at the Barclays Center.

Let’s be clear here, however: Maryland is still a year away from truly being a contender. But with Wells in the fold, this won’t simply be a season where the Terps are biding their time.

They’ll be a factor, both in the ACC and in the national picture.

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

Top-100 guard commits to Xavier

Chris Mack has Xavier back in the Sweet 16 (AP Photo)
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Xavier has added a top-100 prospect into its 2017 recruiting class Wednesday.

Elias Harden, a shooting guard from Georgia, pledged to the Musketeers via social media to become the second member of Chris Mack’s next class.

“The recruiting process was not EASY AT ALL,” Harden wrote on Twitter. “I wanna thank all the coaches that took time to recruit me.

“WIth that being said I will continue my academic and athletic career at Xavier University.”

The 6-foot-6 guard is ranked 92nd overall by 247Sports and had offers from Auburn, Maryland, Texas Tech and Ole Miss. He joins Jared Ridder, a Missouri guard, as part of the 2017 Xavier class.

The Musketeers return the bulk of last year’s 28-6 team that narrowly missed out on the Sweet 16.

Clemson recruit to enroll early

Brad Brownell
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Clemson will get a four-star recruit on campus a year earlier than it expected, though his on-court debut for the Tigers will remain on schedule.

A.J. Oliver, a guard from South Carolina, will enroll early at Clemson and redshirt this upcoming season, he announced via social media Wednesday.

“I woke up this morning and realized that the greatest opportunity for me is to enroll early into Clemson,” he wrote on Twitter. “I will redshirt a year & start my college career early.”

Oliver, whose mother is the head women’s basketball coach at Clemson, was a consensus top-100 player in the class of 2017 who committed to the Tigers last December. Texas Tech and the College of Charleston were involved before his commitment.

A three-star shooting guard, Scott Spencer of Virginia, was previously the only member coach Brad Brownell’s 2016 class. While Oliver’s decision to redshirt will keep him off the court for the 2016-17 season, he’ll have spent a full season in the Tiger program before making his debut in 2017

The cupboard isn’t bare in 2017 for the Tigers due to Oliver’s reclassification because Clemson received a commitment from power forward Malik Williams, a consensus top-150 player, earlier Wednesday.

Kentucky used Calipari-Chaney fight in media training

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Kentucky held some media training sessions yesterday, and one of the topics that head coach John Calipari used to make a point was … his blow-up with John Chaney. The moment was captured on SnapChat by a trio of Kentucky newcomers.

You remember that incident. Chaney, then the head coach at Temple, and Cal, who was coaching Atlantic 10 rival UMass at the time, nearly came to blows over the way that Cal handled officials during the game. Before the video below picks up, the two shared this exchange:

“Could I say this to you, please?” Chaney said, before the video above picks up. “You’ve got a good ball club. But what you did with the officials out there is wrong, and I don’t want to be a party to that. You understand?”

Cal responded: “You weren’t out there, Coach. You don’t have any idea.”

Chaney fired back: “You got a game given to you by officials right here with G.W. on three bad calls, O.K.? Then you send your kids out there pushing and shoving. You had the best officiating you could ever get here. And for you to ride them, I don’t want to be a party to that.”

And that led to “I’ll kill you”:

(h/t KSR)

VIDEO: Shaq’s son, Shareef O’Neal, with monster dunk in Vegas

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Shareef O’Neal is a top 50 prospect in the Class of 2018. In Vegas this past weekend, he threw down a monster put-back dunk.

South Dakota State gets two commits

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Tuesday was a busy and productive one for South Dakota State on the recruiting trail.

The Jackrabbits secured two 2017 commitments from the state of Wisconsin in Ryan Krueger and Alex Arians, a source tells NBCSports.com.

Krueger is a 6-foot-5 wing player from New London, Wisc. while Arians is a 6-foot-4 guard from Madison, Wisc., who also held an offer from Wright State, which is coached by former SDSU coach Scott Nagy. Both players spend their summers playing for the Wisconsin Swing grassroots program.

The pair make it a trio of commits for the Jackrabbits in 2017 with another Wisconsinite, Alou Dillon, pledging to first-year Jackrabbits coach T.J. Otzelberger, himself a Wisconsin native, earlier this summer.

South Dakota State went 26-8 last year and the bulk of the team that made the NCAA tournament last year, including sophomore Mike Daum, who led the team in scoring and rebounding as a freshman.