Turgeon, Terps excited for Wells to join team

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Turgeon, Terps excited for Wells to join team

When Dez Wells first heard the news that the NCAA would allow him to play this year for the Maryland Terrapins, his face lit up in a smile. As the news set in, Wells realized the importance of the NCAA's decision, and hugs and tears filled the room. 

Maryland coach Mark Turgeon explained that the scene in the room was emotional, and eventually those emotions turned into excitement.

"Obviously we're thrilled. We're thrilled for Dez," Turgeon said. The coach explained that he was very proud of the athletic administration at Maryland for continuing to fight for Wells, and that all parties involved -- coaches, players and administration -- worked hard to arrive at today's news. 

"I believed in Dez and I believed in my administration," Turgeon said.

Wells transferred to Maryland this season after playing his freshman season at Xavier University. Typically a transfer player is forced to sit out a season, but Maryland requested that the rule be waived in Wells' case. Maryland was first denied that waiver, but the circumstances for Wells were unique. His expulsion from Xavier University amid sexual assault allegations had many question marks -- an Ohio grand jury decided not to press charges against Wells, and the Xavier administration was later admonished for their handling of the situation --and the Terps appealed the NCAA's initial decision. 

"I wasn't surprised because I was in on the beginning of this," Turgeon said of the NCAA decision. "Once they had all the facts I wasn't surprised. I would have been surprised if it went the other way."

His comments were a far cry from some previous eligibility issues that former Maryland coach Gary Williams encountered. In those days, Williams and former athletic director Debbie Yow often bumped heads, and Williams did not always think he had the full support of the athleitc administration. Turgeon's experience sounded completely different from those days, and he personally thanked and saluted many of the athletic department staff who fought for Wells' eligibility. 

Now that Wells is eligible, the Terps immediately improve on the court. Wells, a 6'5", 215 lb. slasher that averaged almost 10 points and five rebounds as a freshman, gives Turgeon depth and an explosive athlete. 

"Dez is a good player," the coach said. He listed toughness and experience as two of Wells best qualities. In his freshman season at Xavier, Wells played on a team that went to Sweet 16. That experience gives other Maryland players confidence too, Turgeon explained. 

"He understands what it takes," Turgeon said. "He helps us in a lot of ways. He gives every player more confidence."

Senior forward James Padgett echoed Turgeon's comments.

"He makes us a much better team," Padgett said. "We're all excited for him."

Now that Wells eligibility issue has been settled, Maryland must focus on its next challenge: the Kentucky Wildcats. Maryland faces No. 3 ranked Kentucky Friday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. It will be a big stage for many of Turgeon's young players. 

"Our guys will be juiced up," Turgeon said, and he added a joke that the players won't know how to react when they see famous college basketball announcer Dick Vitale.

Despite any first game jitters, Wells makes the Terrapins a better team. Many pundits now project Maryland as an NCAA Tournament team with his addition. Even with the good news, Turgeon wanted to keep expectations in check. 

"Let's be realistic here," Turgeon said when talking about Kentucky. Wildcats coach John Calipari assembled another top notch recuriting class, with many players expected to leave college early for the NBA. But regardless of the outcome from the Kentucky game, Turgeon has postseason expectations for the 2012-2013 Terps.

Turgeon said he does expect Maryland to be a good team this season, though when that will happen remains a question.

"Do I expect us to be a really good team at some point this year? Yes I do," he said. "I think our young kids will grow up quickly. I think we have great depth." 

Wells is in great shape, Turgeon said, and though the coach would not comment on his starting five for Kentucky, most people around the Terps program expect Wells to start or get starter-type minutes.

With a nine or ten-man rotation that will lean heavily on freshmen and sophomores, the Terps may be a work in progress early in the season. But Turgeon and the players all seem confident that having Wells on the court will have a positive impact. 

"This definitely gives us a chance to be a better team than we would have been without him," Turgeon said. 

John Feinstein has NBA Draft decision advice for Melo Trimble

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John Feinstein has NBA Draft decision advice for Melo Trimble

Watch the full segment in the video player above, which will begin momentarily.

Author John Feinstein, in a segment that aired on CSN's SportsNet Central on Tuesday evening, called for Maryland guard Melo Trimble to pull his name out of the NBA Draft and return to the Terrapins for his junior season. 

Among other things, Feinstein said the following:

"Why not go back to college, improve on your game, which needed improvement this season? He went backwards. He needs to lose a little weight, he needs to get healthy -- which he clearly wasn't at the end of last season -- and he needs to show people again that he can be the player he was as a freshman. 

"If he does all those things next year, he'll almost certainly be a first-round draft pick as he would have been a year ago had he come out. Do the smart thing, Melo. Stay in school. I don't always say that, but in this case I'm saying it."

Now, the notion that Trimble would have been a lock to be a first-round draft pick after his freshman season -- which Feinstein alludes to -- is a stretch at best. 

But otherwise, the case he builds is the standard one for those arguing in favor of a return to school. 

Trimble has until a minute before midnight (11:59 p.m. Eastern) on Wednesday, May 25 to make his decision official.

Report: Under Armour inks UCLA to biggest apparel deal ever

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USA TODAY Sports

Report: Under Armour inks UCLA to biggest apparel deal ever

Under Armour has signed UCLA to the biggest-ever apparel deal in college sports history, locking the Bruins in across all sports for 15 years and $280 million, according to Darren Rovell of ESPN.com.

The move expands the company's westward expansion, which includes the massively successful investment in Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and a newly signed deal with California-Berkeley athletics.

From Rovell:

In January, Ohio State said its 15-year deal with Nike was worth $252 million. Texas signed a 15-year deal with Nike worth $250 million in October, and Michigan signed an 11-year deal, with a four-year option, that could be worth up to $173.8 million.

Maryland has been the flagship for Under Armour and is the alma mater of CEO Kevin Plank. Notre Dame is also among the schools recently signed to the brand.

Report: Opponent set for Maryland in 2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge

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Report: Opponent set for Maryland in 2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge

Maryland will face Pittsburgh in College Park as part of the 2016 ACC/Big Ten Challenge, according to Jon Rothstein of CBSSports.com. 

The two teams last faced off on Jan. 25, 2014 when both programs were members of the ACC. Pittsburgh was in its first season in the league, while Maryland was in its last before moving to the Big Ten the following season. The Terrapins lost that game in College Park, 83-79. 

Only one Maryland player who saw time in that game -- center Damonte Dodd -- is still on the team. All nine others have either graduated or transferred out of the program.