Tennessee basketball recruit Kevin Ware plays the waiting game with Volunteers on scholarship release

Court vision? Coach vision? Rockdale County PG Kevin Ware (No. 35) requested his scholarship release before Tennessee's Bruce Pearl was fired on Monday (AJC)

Court vision? Coach vision? Rockdale County PG Kevin Ware (No. 35) requested his scholarship release before Tennessee's Bruce Pearl was fired on Monday (AJC)

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.

37 comments Add your comment

Vol Man

March 23rd, 2011
6:35 pm

Maybe a little unprofessional by Hamilton but I support it. Kevin Ware is the best darn player in Georgia, we ripped him out of the open arms of Georgia Tech and Georgia, and … ok true … he’s probably a goner when Hamilton releases him … UNLESS … we get another legendary coach to replace Pearl.


March 23rd, 2011
7:11 pm

Vol Man,
Not sure you’ll get a legendary coach, but a young upstart may be good for you…Shaka Smart would be a good option. I’m sure you’ll get a good coach, but I don’t think it will be a BIG name. However, I could be wrong. Hope we can get Ware, Royal or Stewart to add some depth. GO DAWGS!


March 23rd, 2011
7:38 pm

I have a feeling GT will bring in a VERY solid coach and Kevin will list GT (private & personal with no media involvement) as the front runner.

I hope he decides GT is the best fit for him in the end.

GT plays in the ACC, sends players to the NBA on a regular basis (GT players have a history of solid success in the NBA!), GT has a solid basketball tradition, we are building a stellar basketball arena and a brand new basketball practice facility AND last but not least GT offers a superb college education!!

DRAD also has a history of bringing in very solid coaches with talented assistant coaches……..he will give the new coaching staff time to develop and build the team (i.e. the new coaches will be at GT for a long time).

Kevin Ware would play early and be an important player on the team as well. I could think of MUCH worse situations for this young man at other schools.


March 23rd, 2011
8:03 pm

I hope Hamilton releases him. I feel confident that if he’s released and wants to come to Georgia that Coach Fox will find a way to get him a scholarship. He would be a great addition, one of the first off the bench and a starter in his sophomore year at UGA. Good luck Kevin and I hope you’ll seriously consider Georgia.


March 23rd, 2011
8:07 pm

Oh by the way it would appear to me that the Tennessee fans and alumni would be calling for Mike Hamilton’s head. The Kiffin mess, the Pearl mess. He’s really got Tennessee in a mess. Time to put him on the street.


March 23rd, 2011
8:25 pm

VinceVanGo, Vol fans have wanted Hamilton gone for quite sometime. We don’t like the way things have went for a while. That is why this coaching search is being overseen by the chancellor and the board of trustees along with Hamilton.


March 23rd, 2011
8:33 pm

What about Summit for AD? After all she is synonymous with tennessee athletics.

Paul in RDU

March 23rd, 2011
8:34 pm

I hope Kevin Ware ends up in a good situation at a school and with a coach he likes.
Having said that, I think it is very unprofessional of Mike Hamilton to not contact Ware, explain what is going on and ask him to be patient. I am sure that Hamilton is busy, and he won’t be able to throw any coaches names at Ware, but how much time would it cost to contact the kid. Heck, reading the blog post, I get the impression that Hamilton is treating Ware and his father like unwanted telemarketers.


March 23rd, 2011
8:42 pm

if everything goes like it should K DUB will be at UGA

Drive By Dawg

March 23rd, 2011
8:54 pm

I feel sorry for Mr. Ware (Father and Son) and the Ware Family. They are now at the mercy of an amoral and incompetent AD (Mike Hamilton) and a “University” with a history of treating student athletes like property. Tennessee is on the verge of MAJOR NCAA sanctions and there are no big-name coaches who will be interested in taking this job. How Mike Hamilton is gainfully employed at all is a mystery to me, much less as the AD of an SEC school. This man hired Lane Kiffin (an obviously terrible hire from the jump) and allowed Bruce Pearl to trash the NCAA rulebook with absolutely no repercussions until there were no other choices.

We would love to have Kevin Ware in Athens, where he will play for a coach who is upstanding and cares about his players (not to mention where guys get better and become NBA prospects). But wherever he chooses to go, I hope he is able to extricate himself from the tentacles of the dirtiest University and AD in the country – Tennessee. Good luck to you Mr. Ware. You’re going to need it dealing with this bunch.


March 23rd, 2011
8:57 pm

VA Dawg, I would be thrilled with Summit, but Fulmer will probably be the next AD, especially if Hamilton gets fired. The expectation is Hamilton will be let go, the question is when.


March 23rd, 2011
9:03 pm

Sorry, I should have put an extra t onto “Summit” to make it “Summitt”.


March 23rd, 2011
9:37 pm

Come to UGA where we are a fast rising program in the Classic City. No better place in the world of college athletics!


March 23rd, 2011
10:02 pm

Vol man, Ware is not the top player in Georgia. UGA signee Caldwell is a McDonald’s All-American and a top 20 or so player nationally. Ware is on the fringe of the top 100.

Glory Glory to Old Georgianham

March 23rd, 2011
10:21 pm

I have a feeling Hamilton is about to get axed and that’s why he hasn’t called Ware back.


March 23rd, 2011
10:25 pm

Drive By Dawg,

Glass houses, red panty man! Hamilton is no gem, but to say athletes (when not getting arrested) are not property at UGA is a joke! Y’all live in fantasy land in Athens. You’re as “amoral” as the rest of them.


March 24th, 2011
6:48 am

Same old Tenn No Class Now and no class before and no class ever and the fans are still drinking the orange cool aid and wanted to keep the insides of an oyster.


March 24th, 2011
7:19 am

He’s staying with UT. Here’s a more updated accurate story.



March 24th, 2011
8:24 am

What Brew says. We’ll see.


March 24th, 2011
9:15 am

Does UGA have a spot open for KW?


March 24th, 2011
9:24 am

The AD is about to be canned, so he is hiding out, and they will not beable to get a decent head coach because of the trouble looming for that program. He just has other players in the program in his ear trying to get him to stay. I am sure when all is said and done, he will not be a VOL.


March 24th, 2011
9:35 am

Ya, in Athens, you had a man who while leading the entire athletic dept chose to cheat on his wife with some ho, while wearing her red UGA panties on his head while they rode around buckhead drinking and driving…then, proceeded to try and bride the cop with I’m the AD…you need tickets? Now that’s class….and one more point, how many athletes got arrested in 2010? More than enough to win the Fulmer cup by a landslide. Stay classy UGA.


March 24th, 2011
10:07 am

maybe Vols won’t let his play for another sec team!


March 24th, 2011
10:26 am

Love how all the Georgia and Georgia Tech fans can say TN is an awful place and they treat players like property, blah blah blah.

All they rally care about it getting a good player.

As for the next AD at TN, it won’t be Fulmer – look for David Blackburn to be the next guy.


March 24th, 2011
10:42 am

Would love to see this kid stay in state. The ACC has a stupid rule that forbids recruits from changing from one conference school to another when they’re released from their LOI after a coaching change. It cost Tech a shot at Thorton last year about this time. To my knowledge, there is no such rule in the SEC, so if released (and he certainly should be), he could sign with the Dawgs assuming a scholarship is available.

The General Feeling

March 24th, 2011
10:48 am

This topic needs an update as Kevin Ware has chosen to stay with his LOI with UT. Good thing the AD chose to give these kids a “cooling off period” and not grant them an immediate release.

UGA fans need to worry about their own….

A Fan of the Game

March 24th, 2011
11:26 am

Looks like he is staying at UT according to his tweet and the article posted by @Brew…

Good Luck on next season wherever you end up

some news for your talks

March 24th, 2011
12:23 pm

All Hamilton has reached out to Kevin’s family and asked that they speak with new coach before UT releases him. Not sure how it sits with the family having to wait, but UT is still on the list depending on coach as well as others schools. Dont be suprised if its a Lawernce Frank or Shocka Smart who recruited Ware while he was an assistant in Florida. There are so many scenerios on how this can play out it will be interesting to see

The Sham

March 24th, 2011
12:40 pm

What? A Tennessee official doing something unprofessional/unethical? Why that could never happen there? And after all that gloating they did when DE went on a panty raid… In all honesty, I’m not saying what Pearl did was a societal worse than what Damon did and in all reality what this guy is supposedly doing is not that big of deal… I’m just saying something to avoid going back to work early from lunch…

Got to love the blogforum!

Georgia Homer

March 24th, 2011
1:16 pm

Gee, Michael, you wouldn’t be cheering on the home teams or kicking a man (or team) while they are down would you? Don’t you remember how it felt when the UGA athletic director had a “momentary indiscretion” and folks questioned the integrity of the entire university and cast negative implications over all things associated with University of Georgia? Surely, you have more journalistic integrity than to stoop so low as to try and steal a recruit during a coaching change?


March 24th, 2011
1:19 pm

If NCAA finds that a program has committed violations then any kid on a scholarship or who’s signed a LOI with that program should be a free agent unless he was part of the infractions! The transfer rules should also be relaxed if a coach leaves & be standardized so that schools don’t have individual polices. A kid should be allowed to transfer to a school not in the same conference or to teams that are on the programs schedule (at the time of his transfer) during his eligibility.


March 24th, 2011
1:45 pm

Whatever the state of TN’s sports programs and the competency of their AD (or lack thereof), the right thing to do is to let the kid move on if that is what he and his family wants. Ignoring him or blowing him off by not even having the decency to speak with him or his parents is a disgrace and reflects even more poorly upon an already disgraceful program. TN has a great history, a great fan base and a good university. It deserves better than they way its sports programs have been doing, and the SEC would be grateful for a change.

For Real

March 24th, 2011
1:50 pm

Do you seriously think UT is going to release him? Not going to happen. They have NO CLASS. If you’ll notice UGA released a player who evenually went to Tech after they fired Felton. UT wouldn’t release that OT 2 years ago and they’re not going to release Ware.Period. NO CLASS!

The General Feeling

March 24th, 2011
2:56 pm

@YoungDawg. The NCAA does exactly that. Look at USC’s football program. The UT basketball program will hear from the NCAA in June or July. Until then, a signed LOI is a contract.

@For Real. For real? You got your stories all mixed up. Transfers vs. newly signed recruits, my man. But you’re a mutt fan so we’ll forgive you. Period.

Have a good day.

Paul N Destin

March 24th, 2011
3:08 pm

UT getting it from all sides these days. Karma is a batch…what you say Fatboy Fillmer. You play in shat and you will get it on you as well. You UT folks need to call Roy Kramer and get him to safe you.

[...] to both, the answer Hamilton gave was essentially the same — wait it out, and see what you think of the new coach [...]

Glory Glory to Old Georgianham

March 25th, 2011
12:34 pm

Appears Pearl is gone, but the UT bagmen are not.