Georgia basketball star Kevin Ware commits to Louisville over UGA

Kevin Ware committed to Tennessee as a sophomore, and maintained a low profile until the Vols fired Bruce Pearl on March 21 (Photo by adidas)

Kevin Ware committed to Louisville but is technically a "free agent" until he attends his first day of college classes -- expected to happen in a couple of weeks (Photo by adidas)

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.”

RELATED

  • FOOTBALL: Georgia Tech’s Paul Johnson blasts oversigning –  “I don’t see how you can do that to kids” (go here for full story)
  • Stephenson High School has FIVE rising seniors committed to SEC schools! Five (go here for full story)

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

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94 comments Add your comment

Delbert D.

May 30th, 2011
7:44 pm

Michael, it’s going to be hard to beat your article on Paul Johnson, Mark Richt and over-signing.

so what

May 30th, 2011
7:47 pm

Good luck, It’s about time for the coach to leave, he is just like saban.

so what

May 30th, 2011
7:48 pm

so what

May 30th, 2011
7:48 pm

Maybe not! Man!

ATL

May 30th, 2011
7:48 pm

WinderDawg

May 30th, 2011
7:54 pm

Good….Not Mark Fox kind of player!

NewbombTurk

May 30th, 2011
7:54 pm

Breaking News!!! Kevin Ware just decommited on his commitment to Louisville and committed to UCLA. Wait. Make that Oregon. Oh, I’m sorry, that would be Kentucky. Stand by, now it’s Tennessee again. Or is that FSU?

RRTDawgs

May 30th, 2011
7:59 pm

Its probably good we did not get Ware loosing Ryan Harrow did hurt though UGA just can not catch a break just not a lot news with basketball or football recruiting .

Bama Fan#2

May 30th, 2011
7:59 pm

Kevin has been around the block more than Reggie Bush ex Kim K.

Delbert D.

May 30th, 2011
8:00 pm

From recruiting reports, I surmise he is a specialist, good at being the outlet guy on fast breaks. Problem areas are ball handling and perimeter shooting.

suwaneedawg

May 30th, 2011
8:01 pm

And the Dawg Nation breathes a sigh of relief.
Thank God!

BIG DAWG

May 30th, 2011
8:05 pm

I agree with WinderDawg, he is not Mark Fox’s type guy. He certainly has a hard time making decisions! Do I shoot or dribble or pass or…………………..

Derrick

May 30th, 2011
8:25 pm

Wow Mark Fox might be the worst D1 recruiter in the nation.

JAWJeRDAWG

May 30th, 2011
8:27 pm

Really a bizarre recruitment. If Louisville is where he wants to play, then so be it.

I’m sure Coach Fox can get someone who really wants to play for Georgia. .. Go Dawgs!

jdawg

May 30th, 2011
8:34 pm

I live in Rockdale, and have to witness the “idiot factor” out here every day. Trust me, this kid will not make an impact in any program he plays in. He’s not a bad kid, he’s just a product of his environment. That’s why he couln’t make up his mind where to go. We will never hear his name again. He would have had a good carreer at UGA, not All SEC, but solid. He will disappear at UL.

dbc

May 30th, 2011
8:44 pm

Another negative headline. “snubs UGA?”
Maybe he was a train wreck and MF didn’t want him. His baggage is the last thing Georgia needs.

bball dawg

May 30th, 2011
8:50 pm

wish him the best of luck in basketball and hope he gets a degree. Only high school bballer i saw wear a college tshirt (Tennessee) when doing pre game warmups with his high school team. there is no “I” in team but there sure is a “me”

Ryan

May 30th, 2011
8:52 pm

smart choice. pitino. check
big east. check

RomeDawg

May 30th, 2011
8:53 pm

Great news for Dawg fans. Never wanted that thug from the start……

hey....

May 30th, 2011
8:57 pm

i get it…if he snubs uga then we really didn’t want him!

CreakyDawg

May 30th, 2011
9:00 pm

Damn jdawg, the products of “desirable environments” have five inch verticals though. What’s a dawg to do?

Reaper

May 30th, 2011
9:02 pm

Great news for the basketball team. We missed out on kid with a lot of issues. When this doesn’t workout and he tries to transfer to UGA, we will not take him then either. These kids are missing out on being coached by Mark Fox and UGA is on the upswing. Fox will get his players. Don’t worry.

Big DAWG

May 30th, 2011
9:06 pm

Glad he is not going to UGA. He wants to play for coaches like Bruce Pearl and Rick Patino (both very poor character coaches). He also chose UCF in a shaddy deal with an agent. We don’t need thugs like this at UGA. Good riddence.

AJC Sports

May 30th, 2011
9:26 pm

Inappropriate remarks and personal attacks will not be tolerated. We appreciate your comments but please keep them on the topic.

Needs his blankey

May 30th, 2011
9:29 pm

Wondering if Daddy will be his roomie????

Send'em U hauls

May 30th, 2011
9:29 pm

Mark Fox = Mark Richt = Dave Perno = Choke Artist.

Asleep at the wheel and too late

May 30th, 2011
9:31 pm

This is happening all to often at UGA. Hope McGarity makes heads roll.

tony

May 30th, 2011
9:51 pm

The insults coming from uga and tech fans towards these athletes are making them take their talent to other schools. Disrepectful people will encounter failures. Galatian 6:7 and 8. This is a mean generation.

TampaDAWG

May 30th, 2011
9:54 pm

Pretty glad he didn’t pick UGA, we never heard if Coach Fox was even recruiting him that hard anyways. From what I have been reading we are at least in the top 5 for a lot of the 4 and 5 star Players at every position. That leaves a scholarship for one of them next year. Lots of time left for football recruiting, just like last year UGA will finish strong. Go DAWGS!

Thoroughbred

May 30th, 2011
10:12 pm

No matter were Ware commits if it’s tenn, uga, or loserville he will still be getting whooped by Kentucky!

Sir Barks A Lot

May 30th, 2011
10:19 pm

Let’s be honest here – this kid never was really considering UGA – except for an insurance policy. Pitino is an outstanding coach with a history. Louisville has a succesfull history……..UGAbasketball has practically zero tradition of success or being relevant – is rebuilding after one fairly good year- easy decision if you are an elite player.

Coach Fox – keep plugging. UGA basketball has a lot more in common with Vanderbilt football than Louisville basketball. It will be an uphill battle.

Dave

May 30th, 2011
10:21 pm

UGA will have 1 player rated a 4 star or higher on the roster but there fans didn’t want 4 star Ware. lol I have seen him and while I think he is overrated he would be the 3rd best player on UGA next year but that really isn’t saying much.

TampaDAWG

May 30th, 2011
10:39 pm

Just like Kentucky and their football program. Nobody said the kid wasn’t talented but there always seems to be something going on with him. If you are rebuilding a program you don’t need those type of distractions. Plus UGA is in much more need of a PG than a SG.

hounddog

May 30th, 2011
11:10 pm

All in all as a UGA fan I just don’t think this is that big a deal or loss…

crenshawcrusher

May 30th, 2011
11:22 pm

Didn’t see any negative comments from the Tech guys, not sure how we are getting lumped in since this was a UGA recruit once he was released from Tenn. Wish the kid all the luck in the world and hope it is where he wants to be.

sports

May 30th, 2011
11:46 pm

you think this clown is serious, he may decommit again and wind in Texas or somewhere, weird.

EagleDawg

May 30th, 2011
11:56 pm

Sounds like this dude doesn’t know what the heck is going on…he is really mixed up

Remarkable

May 31st, 2011
12:02 am

One more scholarship just opened up for next year. Hey, Did Travis Leslie ever get an agent? Maybe he can still come back?

snoopy

May 31st, 2011
12:30 am

From a Dawg fan – Good luck to ya Kevin!

Sean Jones

May 31st, 2011
12:31 am

What is wrong with this kid he shoulda went to UGA or UCF it just shows how much he doesn’t want to make it to the nba he woulda played 35min a game at point guard for UGA or UCF this is a terrible choice by kevin and wesley junior he will get lost at louisville and wind up transfering mark my words he won’t like it there and he will get lost this kid we will never hear from again what a terrible mistake he turned down mark fox and donnie jones 2 of the most well liked people in college bball smh! pitino’s ego will kill him you should hear how that guy curses his kids out at practices and games

Michael

May 31st, 2011
12:36 am

I was kind of amused at the comment about Ware choosing Louisville over UGA because Louisville is some awesome program with a history of winning. Fact check: The kid signed with Tennessee and then committed to UCF before committing to Louisville. UCF, y’all.

I don’t want anybody this wishy-washy coming near Athens again. I get leaving Tennessee after a coach is fired, but bailing on plan B about a month after going to it? This kid is indecisive and has no idea what he wants. He probably just wants attention. Plus, do recall the last person affiliated with UGA to pull a he’s in, he’s out, he’s in routine: Jim Harrick. I may not know how many points a 3-pointer is worth, but I know I don’t want anybody like that again.

CHUCK UGA

May 31st, 2011
1:02 am

Not really a surprise. Mark Fox is going to have to continue to search fo rthe diamonds in the rough. He will not be able to lure top-rated talent on any kind of a consistent basis. Why? Because UGA has never been a basketball program. Either there was no commitment to winning (like prior to Hugh Durham) or because of recklessness (losing Tubby, Harrick Gate, etc.) Fox will have to get the team to the Sweet 16 before most of the top talent takes UGA seriously. 2011-12 season will be critical to get back into the tournament. If he cannot with the players on hand, could be a long road.

AT

May 31st, 2011
1:50 am

bench time for ware. he’s stupid, fickle and needs to get his ass beat on if he has hopes of going anywhere. in 2 years i hope to see him get serious playing time.

BcS2010

May 31st, 2011
3:55 am

I have seen him play and he is good but not elite in my opinion. He is a great athlete at 6-4 but i can not see him playing point guard at the next level and he is not skilled enough to play shooting guard. I think he will be a 4 year player and wont make an impact till his junior season. He should have stayed commited to Tennessee with there rebuilding this season.

george

May 31st, 2011
4:39 am

gee-an 18 year old with a difficult decision to make who changes his mind. within a just a few years of that age i changed the branch of service i enlisted in, changed colleges and majors and certainly changed girl friends. i also changed jobs and actually career during my working life. as an alum and booster i hope that all top recruits go to carolina-and none to duke; as a parent and grandparent i hope that mr. ware and all young people find meaning and success in their lives.

59bulldawg

May 31st, 2011
4:45 am

We could have used him. But I’m not exactly torn up about not signing the young man. We’ll be fine!

BravesFan79

May 31st, 2011
6:23 am

WHO? Let me know when UGA is in the running for a top 5 recruit in the nation like GT is most years!

Paddy

May 31st, 2011
6:26 am

I have never been so glad not to have signed a player. We just didn’t need him or want him!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

[...] Basketball prospect Kevin Ware snubs Georgia and commits to Louisville [...]

Douglas

May 31st, 2011
7:44 am

Here is what bothers me about this kid. When he decommitted from UT, he kept saying he hoped UGA recruited him and he would love to play with the other great player we signed. If he really does not mean it, he needs to keep his mouth shut.