(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.
– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog
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