One of college basketball’s most dramatic recruiting journeys of the year likely ended on Monday.
Kevin Ware, who is ranked as the No. 56 player in the nation by Rivals, committed to Louisville coach Rick Pitino on Monday while on an official visit to the school. He was also considering UGA.
“It has been a long journey, with a few twists and turns, and now it’s all done,” Ware’s stepfather, Wesley Junior, told the AJC.
“Kevin is excited about the opportunity to learn the game of basketball from Coach Pitino, who has been successful on every level. Kevin couldn’t pass on that opportunity. Kevin’s excited, we’re excited and Coach Pitino is excited.”
The 6-foot-4 guard from Rockdale County High School committed to Tennessee as a sophomore and signed with the Volunteers last November. He was granted a release after the Tennessee fired Bruce Pearl, igniting a recruiting whirlwind.
Ware pledged to Central Florida in mid-April, only to de-commit 10 days later after allegations surfaced that Central Florida was assisted by a street agent in recruiting him.
Louisville never gave up on recruiting Ware, even though he had committed to Central Florida in mid-April on the day after Pitino traveled to Georgia for an in-home visit with Ware.
“Coach Pitino was a little confused on how everything all went down in April, but he knows how crazy recruiting can get,” Junior said. “[Pitino] made it a point to tell Kevin that he appreciated him making the effort get up to Louisville and meet the players and coaches.
“It was a chance for Kevin to get to know more about Louisville, and Louisville to know more about Kevin. Kevin liked it so much that he let on Sunday night that was going to commit. Then he decided to make it official with Coach Pitino today.
“Kevin said ‘I’m ready to be a Louisville Cardinal’ and [Pitino] was ecstatic. He congratulated Kevin and said he was excited about him being part of the program.”
Ware will sign an athletics aid agreement with Louisville within the next couple of days. However, NCAA rules prevent Ware from signing a letter of intent with Louisville because a prospective student-athlete cannot sign two LOIs in the same signing period (Ware signed with Tennessee last November).
In other words, Ware is still technically a “free agent” until he attends his first day of college classes. He is expected to enroll at Louisville in late June, according to his family.
What’s next? Ware graduated from Rockdale County on Friday, left for an official visit to Louisville on Sunday, and will return home on Tuesday. He will submit his paperwork to Louisville admissions office this week and is expected to meet NCAA college entrance requirements. Ware reportedly finished his senior year with three As and three Bs in his classes.
Ware’s only other recruiting trip since his de-commitment from UCF was an unofficial visit with Georgia’s Mark Fox a few weeks ago.
“We appreciate everybody’s patience and understanding throughout the recruiting process,” Junior said. “Everybody is glad it’s over. Now Kevin is a great situation and we can go back to our everyday lives.”
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