A season of change for Xavier University basketball took another unexpected turn Tuesday when high-flying sophomore Dez Wells was expelled from the school.
Wells was responsible for a “serious violation” of the code of student conduct, Xavier officials said in a news release.
“While we understand there is heightened interest in this situation because it involves a student-athlete, we must reiterate that first and foremost Xavier’s interest and responsibility to all of our students is to provide a quality education in a safe and nurturing environment,” the release said. “A serious violation of Xavier’s Code of Student Conduct will not be tolerated. All Xavier students are subject to the same protections and consequences.
At full strength last year, Xavier started three seniors, junior guard Mark Lyons and Wells. Lyons was essentially asked not to return and transferred to Arizona for his final college basketball season. Wells would have been Xavier’s leading returning scorer. He averaged 9.8 points per game last season.
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Wells’ departure leaves Travis Taylor as Xavier’s leading returning scorer at 4.5 points per game and puts more pressure this season on a highly touted freshman class to produce immediately. Xavier has advanced to at least the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament in five of the past six years.
Wells wasn’t one of the main instigators but was one of the main participants in the Xavier-Cincinnati brawl last December. He served a four-game suspension for his actions and ended up starting 32 of 36 games.
The events of the past nine months have certainly reshaped the Xavier roster and the program as a whole. Xavier players’ role in the brawl with Cincinnati likely will continue to lead to less tolerance and higher expectations in terms of conduct.
With that in mind, Lyons left last spring. Now, the future for the extremely gifted Wells is uncertain, though it’s highly likely not going to be at Xavier.