A Xavier University men’s basketball team already gutted by graduation losses and other defections just became a little thinner still following Tuesday’s announcement that the school has expelled sophomore Dezmine Wells.
Wells, an athletic 6-foot-5 swingman who would have been the Musketeers’ top returning scorer, was found to have been in “serious violation” of the Xavier University Conduct Board, according to a school release.
CBSSports.com reported that Wells’ expulsion stemmed from a “sexual incident,” although no charges were filed. Xavier officials declined further comment, citing federal privacy laws.
Wells can transfer to another Division I institution, but would have to sit out a year per NCAA transfer rules.
His loss is a serious blow to a Musketeers squad that was already in a major rebuilding mode after so many losses from last year’s team that went 23-13 and reached the Sweet 16. Star guard Tu Holloway, big man Kenny Frease and forward Andre Walker all graduated this spring, while second-leading scorer Mark Lyons transferred to Arizona.
Coach Chris Mack will now be hard-pressed to maintain his program’s string of excellence. Xavier has appeared in 12 of the last 13 NCAA Tournaments and captured six of the past seven Atlantic 10 championships.
But reaching the NCAA field from a vastly improved league that will also now include VCU and Butler figures to be unlikely.
Wells started 32 games as a freshman, averaging 9.8 points and 4.9 rebounds to earn Atlantic 10 All-Rookie Team honors. He was expected to blossom this winter as he shouldered more of the offensive and defensive load.
Former Monmouth transfer Travis Taylor, a 6-8 reserve forward, is now Xavier’s top returning scorer at 4.5 points per game.
The setback is the latest to befall the program. The school was embarrassed last December when a bench-clearing brawl broke out between the Musketeers and Cincinnati, resulting in the suspensions of four players from each team.