Tennessee basketball recruit Kevin Ware told the AJC on Wednesday that he is still waiting to hear back from school officials about his request for the release of his letter-of-intent with the firing of Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl.
Ware’s father has a left a couple of messages with Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton, and also talked to someone in the athletics department who said that Hamilton was busy with starting the search for a new basketball coach. Ware said no Tennessee athletic representatives have reached out or initiated contact with him.
“We’re just waiting to hear back,” Ware said. “I thought someone would have called by now but it’s all good. I know they have a lot going on there right now, and that they will eventually get back to us.”
Ware’s stance hasn’t changed over the past couple of days: He will consider Tennessee with a new coach, but wants his scholarship release to investigate options elsewhere. Ware said he hasn’t had any contact with other colleges. He has heard rumors of interest from Louisville, Kansas, Georgia Tech, UGA, UCLA, Florida State, Kansas State, and Georgetown, among others.
What about Georgia Tech? “It’s basically the same situation as Tennessee. If Georgia Tech or Tennessee brings in a good coach that feels like I would be a good fit for their system, then I would definitely be consider them.”
What about UGA? “I’m not sure about their scholarship situation. It looks like they might not have anything open unless someone goes to the NBA or transfers. If something were to open up, I would definitely be very interested. It would be great to play on the same team with [5-star recruit] Kentavious Caldwell.”
The 6-foot-4 senior has been committed to Tennessee since his sophomore year. Ware said he picked the Volunteers over offers from Georgetown, UGA, Florida State, Cincinnati, Xavier, and Georgia Tech, among others. He averaged 19 points and 9 assists while leading Rockdale County to its first appearance in the state championship game since 1987.
Note: It is interesting that Tennessee athletics director Mike Hamilton has yet to reach out to Ware. That is usually the protocol when there is a change with a college head coach — for the particular school’s athletic director to immediately establish communications with the former coach’s recruits. For example, Georgia Tech athletic director Dan Radakovich was on the phone with Milton High’s Julian Royal within hours after terminating basketball coach Paul Hewitt.
Any theories? My guess is that Hamilton is stalling (and smartly so) until Tennessee can get a few big names out there as possible coaching replacements — big names that may excite Ware.