Louisville coach Rick Pitino meets with ex-Tennessee recruit

Kevin Ware 2

Ex-Tennessee recruit Kevin Ware had Lousville coach Rick Pitino knock on his door on Sunday night (Photo provided by adidas)

(Note: For other recruiting news over the weekend, see links at bottom)

Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino made an in-home visit with former Tennessee basketball recruit Kevin Ware on Sunday night.

The 6-foot-4 guard from Rockdale County High School was granted his scholarship release from Tennessee a few weeks ago following the firing of Volunteers coach Bruce Pearl. Louisville, Georgia and Central Florida have “made it clear” that they are offering basketball scholarships, Ware’s family told the AJC.

Pitino traveled to the Atlanta area on Sunday night to meet with Ware for about an hour. It was shortly after Ware had returned from an official visit to Central Florida over the weekend.

“We talked with Coach Pitino and it went well,” said Ware’s stepfather, Wesley Junior. “He let Kevin know how he thought he could improve his game and what it would be like to play for Louisville, stuff like that. Coach Pitino think he has the potential be a really good player in college, and he’d like it to be at Louisville. Kevin really liked what he heard.”

Ware had said previously that Louisville was his frontunner, but both UGA and Central Florida have made major strides within the last week. South Carolina also may be jumping into the sweepstakes with a scholarship offer as early as Monday, while UCLA has expressed some interest.

UGA’s Mark Fox, Central Florida’s Donnie Jones, South Carolina’s Darrin Horn are among the college head coaches expected to observe workouts or make an in-home visit with Ware over the next couple of days during the NCAA’s “contact period.”

“After we go through workouts, we’re going to figure out his last three official visits and go from there,” Junior said. “We’re not trying to lean one way or another with a ‘favorite’ until we get in visits to the other schools.”

Ware likes UGA because it’s close to home and the opportunity to play with 5-star recruit Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the 6-6 shooting guard from Greenville High School that has already signed with the Bulldogs. “Coach Fox thinks Kevin and Kentavious could possibility develop into one of the top freshmen backcourts in the nation,” Junior said. “Coach Fox thinks he can play well on both sides on the court, and that Kevin has some developing to do at the point guard position. He wants to work with Kevin to make sure he becomes a complete player at point guard.”

What about Tennessee? New coach Cuonzo Martin had told Ware that Volunteers still wanted him, according to Wesley. However, that situation may have changed after Josh Richardson, a 6-5 guard from Oklahoma, committed to Tennessee on Saturday. “We’re not sure how things stand with Tennessee right now because we haven’t talked with them since that commitment,” said Wesley, who added that Ware is still considering making an unofficial visit to Tennessee to meet in person with the new coach (he used the “official” recruiting trip with Pearl last fall).

“We’ll have a much better idea about everything with all the schools and what we’re going to do after the new couple of days,” Wesley said. “We’re very humbled, and appreciative to all the coaches that have expressed interest.”

Ware is ranked as the nation’s No. 56 college basketball prospect by Rivals. Ware averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds while leading Rockdale County to its first appearance in the state championship game since 1987 this past season.

RELATED

  • UGA 5-star football recruit Isaiah Crowell gets rockstar status at G-Day (click here)
  • Stephenson DL, who tried to commit to Auburn in early March, pledges to South Carolina (click here)
  • Tennessee flirts with DB committed to Virginia Tech (click here)
  • Who is Georgia’s No. 1 college football prospect? It might be … a sophomore (click here)
  • UGA football recruit Ray Drew will be two-sport athlete for Bulldogs (click here)

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com —- Note: Inappropriate comments will not be tolerated

Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC

45 comments Add your comment

TopperCat

April 17th, 2011
11:58 pm

Kid’s goin to L-Ville……Bummer
Oh well, can’t blame him since they’re kinda crazy for basketball up there.
Best of Luck

TopperCat

April 18th, 2011
12:06 am

And let’s get real here, UCF can forget about getting this kid. I can’t see a prospect not originally from the immediate Orlando vicinity coming from afar to attend UCF.

TopperCat has made this blog his home. Thank you for your generosity.

WALLY GATOR

April 18th, 2011
1:36 am

Carvell and the AJC absolutely have the best and most current recruiting blog out there AND I READ THEM ALL. Keep bringing it !

Stinger2

April 18th, 2011
4:22 am

I am a GT fan but I had rather see him go to UGA than Louisville

Recrootin' DAwG

April 18th, 2011
6:23 am

He has to sit out this upcoming year, right? How can he and Caldwell play together. Caldwell is a one and done.

south

April 18th, 2011
6:27 am

no he doesn’t have to sit. TN released him from his commitment

tony

April 18th, 2011
6:33 am

Fox has gotten the DAWGS into the ncaa tournament in just two short years at uga so I think the Ware should get on the FOX TRAIN to see how far it will go. It would be nice to see Kelvin Ware and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope ride that train together.

Dawg Consultant

April 18th, 2011
6:36 am

It will come down to UGA and Lousiville. In short, how important is it for young Mr. Ware to play close to home? Pintno is tough to beat on the recruiting trail. Good luck to him; either pick would be great.

Larry

April 18th, 2011
6:57 am

If this and any other kid has any amount of loyalty to the Georgia Property Tax payers who funded his education for 12+ years and his Georgia family, friends and neighbors then he/they will select a Georgia undergraduate system if offered.

If not, good riddance and let us devote our time, energy and resources to loyal and devoted students and athletes to the state that funded and afforded them this special and privileged opportunity–The Great State of Georgia!

MurfHOF1

April 18th, 2011
7:03 am

only keeping uga on the list to please family that wants him close to home but no doubt he will end up at Louisville… as for stinger, he’s no gt fan, just another uga poser… sad life folks like that lead

Gary

April 18th, 2011
7:04 am

Kevin still hope you pick UGA the two ”K” will most certainly have GA fans realing and the PROSPECTS are sure to follw ,important get for UGA,Coach Fox,do all you can to reel this cat in.IF UGA is able to get him I REALLY thinK 2012 will be made of for GA KIDS.GO DAWGS STAY HOME KEVIN WE LOVE YOU.

tony

April 18th, 2011
7:41 am

Larry
April 18th, 2011
6:57 am

If this and any other kid has any amount of loyalty to the Georgia Property Tax payers who funded his education for 12+ years and his Georgia family, friends and neighbors then he/they will select a Georgia undergraduate system if offered.

Not a fair statement sir. We got 3 out of state young men coming to play for Fox next season. Should they stay in their own states too? If Uga doesn’t have the courses that these kids want to major in, they should stay in state to show their loyalty to Ga Tax Payers?

GAcard

April 18th, 2011
8:05 am

Been a lifelong Louisville fan. I live in the ATL area. My take is that Louisville like UGA competes at high levels in both sports (football and basketball) but in basketball Louisville is a top 5 program, while UGA is a top 5 program in football. The opportunity to stay at home and play with the one 5 star recruit will not beat out the opportunity to play with a team full of 4 and 5 star recruits and one of the best coaches in the nation, Coach Pitino.

Rockdale insider

April 18th, 2011
8:20 am

kev is a georgia “lock.”

rick pitino is a big name to you old folks, but he’s no more famous with today’s kids than mark fox or whatever that guys name is at georgia tech.

kevin wants to stay close to home. he will take the 3 visits and sign with dawgs in may. woof!

bank walker

April 18th, 2011
8:35 am

He will be a DAWG!

UGAfan

April 18th, 2011
8:39 am

I am one of the biggest UGA fans. I am 19, but to say Pitino is just a name to the old folks is just idiotic. Not hating on my dawgs but Louisville is obliviously a premier basketball school, as we are a football school. Watching the McDonalds All American game, im pretty sure Louisville had 2 or 3 players in the game. Obviously I want him to stay here, but if i was him, I would choose Louisville. Lets be real, we are lucky to get 7,000 fans a game, and our coaching job isnt one of them premier jobs in the nation. If he wants to come play for Fox, there is no guarntee Fox will be here after a couple of years.

Had to say it .....

April 18th, 2011
8:50 am

The LADIES know who Rick Pitino is!!!!!

Dawglasville

April 18th, 2011
8:54 am

I wish the young man the best no matter who he chooses. There is no doubt Petino is a great coach. This is just an opinion from a father of two boys. I don’t think I would be thrilled to have my son play for someone with Petrino’s character issues. Especially six hours away from home. That is not a shot at Louisville and their great program. This is just one guy’s opinion.

JB

April 18th, 2011
9:04 am

Lot’s of bloggers who were at the G Day game left not impressed. I watched on TV and saw a few things I liked, But I don’t think the coach’s will show a lot. I think the D will be better. looks like Caleb and Ealey will be in uniform for Boise, and I don’t care what you think of them , that’s a good thing. The O line was a mixed bag. Any comments?

Greg Gumbel

April 18th, 2011
9:06 am

Ladies and gentlemen, the power of sitting on our exclusive CBS NCAA Tournament telecast panel for an entire day of broadcasting is on full display here. One coach per day gets that chance and if you don’t think it plays well in the living room, well then…
Most “HS stars” have two things on the top of their list: “get me on TV and get me in The League” – and Pitino does both of those over and over.

GAcard

April 18th, 2011
9:14 am

Haha @Greg Gumbel

not in the cards

April 18th, 2011
9:18 am

The last recruit from GA to have success at the “ville” was Pervis “never nervous” Ellis. Prior to that Derrick Smith, his son played at Duke. Since Pervis, Louisville has not been good for recruits from GA. Remember Kieth LaGree, not good at all. He should think long and hard about the decision to attend Louisville. If the coaching style fits, stay in state and commit to UGA.

Not any more

April 18th, 2011
9:20 am

…as we [UGA] are a football school.

It’s kind of sad to see all the Dawg fans getting so excited this year (just like the year before, the year before that, etc.). How long is it going to take for UGA fans to realize that UGA is simply no longer relevant in the SEC? In the national picture, UGA isn’t even a blip on the radar, and hasn’t been since the preseason #1 ranking two years ago.

Sit back and be grateful for the six or seven wins you’ll get every year. Coaching genius Mark Richt may take you to 8-4 or even 9-3 occasionally, but Florida will still win the SEC, meaning no BCS bowls and no top 10 final ranking. Most years, UGA will be very lucky to finish in the top 50, and only after a big bowl win over a nobody opponent.

It’s a different world now, and Dawg fans need to adjust their expectations downward to reflect reality.

Unfortunately nothing is going to change until UGA changes its mediocre coaching. That’s where the difference is, and that’s why everyone outside Dawgtard Nation just laughs at Dawg fans getting so excited year after year about what a great recruiting class UGA gets. It doesn’t matter how many blue chip high school players go to UGA, they simply don’t get the coaching they would get at Florida or Alabama, to name two schools whose programs are far ahead of UGA. And that’s not going to change as long as Mark Richt is in Athens.

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality. And mediocrity and irrelevance. 

Frank

April 18th, 2011
9:20 am

“And let’s get real here, UCF can forget about getting this kid. I can’t see a prospect not originally from the immediate Orlando vicinity coming from afar to attend UCF. ”

Tell that to Michael Lawrence, the #4 ranked Center in the country who just signed with UCF….from Indiana…pretty sure that’s not in the Orlando vicinity.

Frank

April 18th, 2011
9:21 am

Michael Chandler that is.

Worm

April 18th, 2011
9:27 am

I’m more concerned right now about the locker room theft arrests and what ramifications they might have in Columbus.

Midtown Dawg

April 18th, 2011
9:30 am

I don’t think UGAfan is actually a UGA fan. Fox has made it clear he is here to stay and his contract is being rewritten to make sure that happens. Ware will have great coaching at both UGA and Louisville. He will play with great players at both UGA and Louisville. For your information, Louisville has 2 McD AA and Georgia 1 this year, neither team had one last year. Fox has proven he can get good players and coach them up.

RaleighDawg

April 18th, 2011
9:47 am

@Midtown Dawg – curious as to who are these “good players” that he has “coached up” ?

ATL Sports Fan

April 18th, 2011
9:51 am

You mention UGA is not relevent anymore, however you post a 277 word essay. If UGA was not relevant as you say, why did you waste your time posting a 277 word essay?

Not any more

April 18th, 2011
9:20 am
…as we [UGA] are a football school.

It’s kind of sad to see all the Dawg fans getting so excited this year (just like the year before, the year before that, etc.). How long is it going to take for UGA fans to realize that UGA is simply no longer relevant in the SEC? In the national picture, UGA isn’t even a blip on the radar, and hasn’t been since the preseason #1 ranking two years ago.

Sit back and be grateful for the six or seven wins you’ll get every year. Coaching genius Mark Richt may take you to 8-4 or even 9-3 occasionally, but Florida will still win the SEC, meaning no BCS bowls and no top 10 final ranking. Most years, UGA will be very lucky to finish in the top 50, and only after a big bowl win over a nobody opponent.

It’s a different world now, and Dawg fans need to adjust their expectations downward to reflect reality.

Unfortunately nothing is going to change until UGA changes its mediocre coaching. That’s where the difference is, and that’s why everyone outside Dawgtard Nation just laughs at Dawg fans getting so excited year after year about what a great recruiting class UGA gets. It doesn’t matter how many blue chip high school players go to UGA, they simply don’t get the coaching they would get at Florida or Alabama, to name two schools whose programs are far ahead of UGA. And that’s not going to change as long as Mark Richt is in Athens.

Get your heads out of the sand and face reality. And mediocrity and irrelevance.

ATL Sports Fan

April 18th, 2011
9:54 am

Deon Bonner can kiss his chances of coming to UGA away. If he is convicted of theft in the UGA locker room, then how can Alabama, Florida or other schools in the SEC go after a kid who already shows that he is willing to steal from his potential teamates?

CopTat

April 18th, 2011
10:15 am

I’m so self important that I respond to my own posts. This kid heads to Athens.

UGAfan

April 18th, 2011
10:54 am

@Midtown Dawg im sorry but im not really sure how you dont see im not a UGA fan.

Kevin

April 18th, 2011
11:10 am

Michael, in your opinion, where does he end up?

KevinM

April 18th, 2011
11:51 am

Pitino is desperate mode trying to keep up with recruiting and the state school.
Dawglasville, umm, Petrino is at Arkansas now…..its Pitino, and no I wouldn’t want my son to play for him.
Pitino is going to have to kick someone off a scholarship. Will it be noticed by the media? He already has what, 16 players?

Ware would be better served getting his minutes at Georgia, but for some reason, the appeal to play in state is not there. You always have to upset Kentucky, Florida, Duke, and UNC to get noticed.

I don’t see Fox building any consistency if he can’t keep the top recruits in state. Same for Brian Gregory…so far, what has his recruiting done for Tech? He has had time to bring in a couple of players.

One more time: YOU HAVE TO KEEP THE BEST PLAYERS IN STATE TO MOVE YOUR PROGRAM FORWARD….this is so tough for Georgia and Tech to understand.

If Thad Matta didn’t have such a fertile recruting base in state, he wouldn’t keep his job long. He keeps kids home and therein is why he continues to keep his team around the top of the Big 10 year in year out.

Mark (another one)

April 18th, 2011
12:48 pm

The young man has put himself in position to make a no lose choice. I wish him the wisdom to make the best choice for him and his future. I’m pulling for UGA but I am a fan of the players, and hope they eacg make the decision that serves them best. These are all great schools, and all can be a stepping stone to a successful life.

Jim 70

April 18th, 2011
1:02 pm

also a GT fan who hates the dawgs, but rather any Georgia high school player go to the dawgs than out of state! (naturally prefer either GT or GS (state or southern) vs UGA, but UGA definitely over louisville.

gdawginkalamazoo

April 18th, 2011
1:57 pm

Coach Porcini came all the way to Atlanta to say that if you get a lady pregnant one of my assistants will marry her. Best program in the nation for taking care of your business.

Reaper

April 18th, 2011
3:47 pm

This would give UGA an awesome tandem for outside shooting. Ware and Caldwell would make Fox’s system work really well. Now all we need is a very good PG. We all know that UGA is pathetic when it comes to outside shooting and this would solve their problem. We need more of these kids to stay home instead of leaving the state. I hope he picks UGA.

Larry

April 18th, 2011
5:33 pm

“We got 3 out of state young men coming to play for Fox next season. Should they stay in their own states too? If Uga doesn’t have the courses that these kids want to major in, they should stay in state to show their loyalty to Ga Tax Payers?”

tony,

I am not suggesting a law or regulation here, just that if offered every GA School Athlete should also put their state first.

If not offered and/or there is truly (hard to imagine with basketball players) not a degree in state, or if the coach is in some questionable activities then yes, a kid has every right to play ball elsewhere.

My primary point is all things equal they should stay loyal to their state, the taxpayers of that state that funded your education, and your family and friends who have cheered for you for years and years.

Simple loyalty, nothing else!

dawggone

April 18th, 2011
6:02 pm

has anyone on the uga football roster or recruit been arrested today?

Dave 360

April 18th, 2011
6:35 pm

Coach Martin is recruiting very well for the Vols
has nabbed 3 very good players in 3 weeks.

Nate the Great

April 18th, 2011
6:36 pm

@dawggone: No recruits or players arrested…yet. Only a former prospect was arrested.

I’m willing to bet good money UGA has as many players, or less, arrested as Vandy.

Dan

April 18th, 2011
7:44 pm

Midtown Dawg you might want to check things out before stating untruths. Louisville DOES have a McD on their current roster — matter of fact he just finished his 2nd year and will return next year.

Frank — you are crazy about Michael Chandler — the kid is heading south because he has already burned all his bridges in the northern part of the country – several commits and decommits — and schools rapidly losing interest in him. The kid is a head case and his family has their hands stuck out for “extras.” UCF is crazy if they take him (if he even qualifies which is highly doubtful).

Dawglasville

April 18th, 2011
9:29 pm

KevinM – Thanks, I guess, if that, “umm” is not dripping with the sarcasm that it appears to be. Maybe it’s not. I know the difference, and frankly I would not want my sons playing for either the self-serving opportunist or for the self-serving adulterer. Petrino is still fresh on local sports fans brains because of what he did to the Falcons. Pitino’s name has not been relevant to the state of Georgia since he left UK and Tubby took his job. That is probably why I made the slip up. If I have made any other errors, I guess you’ll just have to pick away. I’m not going to use a dictionary, thesaurus, or a harbrace to proof a sports blog.

Dick

April 19th, 2011
6:26 am

How about which school offers the best academic program? NO wait, he is an athelete he is expected to go to school, win games, possibly go pro and tehn father child after child after child while walking the streets of America doing nothing. THe blmaing the white people for not helping him