Maryland loses its flexibility without Wells

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Sports,College,Kevin Dunleavy

Rotation changes considerably minus swingman

Asked recently how many players he would rotate if his team had a game the next day, Maryland basketball coach Mark Turgeon answered nine. Clearly, however, there was a 10th Terrapins player he wanted to include.

With news Friday that the NCAA has denied the request of Xavier transfer Dez Wells to play this year, Turgeon will have to consider a rotation that doesn't include the 6-foot-5 sophomore, at least this season. A team spokesman said Friday that Maryland will appeal the decision.

Players who transfer from one Division I program to another are required to sit out a year. But some have convinced the NCAA to waive the requirement, including Virginia quarterback Phillip Sims, a transfer from Alabama whose father, a resident of Virginia, is in poor health.

Maryland contends that Wells should be allowed to play this year because he was wrongfully expelled from Xavier. The school dismissed Wells after a sexual-assault allegation came to light, a charge from which he later was exonerated.

The best case scenario for the Terps when they open Nov. 9 against defending national champion Kentucky would be to have Wells running on one wing. In an intrasquad scrimmage Oct. 20, Wells hit all seven of his shots, slashing for five fast-break baskets and swishing a 3-pointer and a midrange jumper. Wells, who averaged 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds last year at Xavier, likely would be the Terps' most polished offensive player.

But with Wells sidelined, Maryland's rotation will be much less flexible. Turgeon was hoping to get minutes for 6-8 freshman Jake Layman at the four spot and 6-6 sophomore Nick Faust at point guard. But with Wells out, they will be required to join Albany transfer Logan Aronhalt, a strong 3-point shooter, in a three-player rotation at the two wing slots.

Junior Pe'Shon Howard and freshman Seth Allen figure to share point guard duties. Senior James Padgett, sophomore Alex Len and freshmen Shaq Cleare and Charles Mitchell will rotate at the two frontcourt positions.

A first look at how Turgeon will employ his players -- presumably without Wells -- will come Friday night at Comcast Center against Division II Indiana (Pa.).

kdunleavy@washingtonexaminer.com

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Kevin Dunleavy

Staff writer - sports
The Washington Examiner