By Jeff Barker, The Baltimore Sun
7:31 PM EDT, October 9, 2012
— Months after being expelled by Xavier, Maryland basketball player Dez Wells said Tuesday that he finally feels a sense of relief because he has arrived in a place that feels like "home."
"I had faith I would be in the best situation possible at the end of the road. And I feel like I'm in the best situation," Wells said in his first interview with local media since transferring to Maryland this summer. "I feel a lot of relief. It's home away from home."
The 6-foot-5 Wells, who can play guard or small forward, was dismissed by Xavier following his freshman season after a sexual-assault allegation that a prosecutor said was unproven.
It's uncertain whether Wells will be able to play for the Terps this season. Maryland is seeking an NCAA waiver under which he would receive an exemption from the transfer rule and not be required to sit out a season. Xavier is cooperating with Maryland in its request on the player's behalf.
"I'm just waiting to see what's going to happen," Wells said. "The anticipation does kind of build up. You kind of get like anxiety a little bit."
Hamilton County (Ohio) prosecuting attorney Joseph T. Deters told The Baltimore Sun that the sexual-assault allegation was lodged after a game of "truth or dare" involving three females and three males. Wells and the accuser "knew each other [and] they were in a sexual situation totally consensual until the very last seconds, and that's where their stories diverged," Deters said.
A grand jury declined to charge Wells. "This would never go anywhere criminally," Deters said.
Wells is close with Maryland football receiver Nigel King, who, like Wells, is from Raleigh, N.C. Wells also knew some of his current teammates from the AAU circuit.
But Wells said there was little his friends could do for him as he dealt with the assault allegation. .
"It really wasn't anything that they could do for me emotionally or physically," Wells said. "So I just had to just trust in God. That's the main thing I could do. And pray a lot. I had a long, long talk with my aunt and she told me to get down and pray every day, that the situation ends out in the way that I wanted to."
Wells said basketball provided him respite. He was made available along with his teammates for Maryland Media Day on Tuesday at Comcast Center.
"Being on the court, that comes naturally," he said. "So I just go out and be who I am as a player. But off the court is the hardest part for me."
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