Ware highly interested in Louisville

Rick Pitino is looking to sign another guard for next season. Kevin Ware, a 6-foot-4 combo guard from Conyers (GA) Rockdale County, might become Louisville's prime recruiting target this spring after receiving his release from Tennessee. Ware spoke with InsideTheVille.com Thursday and there's no doubt he has strong interest in the Cardinals.

Rick Pitino is looking to sign another guard for next season. Kevin Ware, a 6-foot-4 combo guard from Conyers (GA) Rockdale County, might become Louisville's prime recruiting target this spring.

Ware, a four-star prospect who led Rockdale County to the Georgia state championship game, signed with Tennessee during the early signing period, but asked for his release after Bruce Pearl was fired. On Thursday, Ware was granted his release and now is searching for a new school.

Louisville, Ware told InsideTheVille.com Thursday night, is extremely high on his wish-list.

"My interest is high in Louisville," Ware said. "I've been a big Louisville fan and Rick Pitino is just a great coach. I could really see myself fitting into his system. They get up and down and really get after it defensively and that's the kind of player I am. Louisville fits the system that I am looking for, that's why I'm so high on Louisville. I see myself fitting into their system really well."

Could Louisville emerge as the favorite for four-star guard Kevin Ware? (AJC)
Ware said he heard from Louisville assistant Tim Fuller before he signed with Tennessee, but that it was too late at that point to reconsider his commitment to the Volunteers.

"I spoke to [Tim Fuller] and he said he was new to the school and he was really trying to get involved with me," Ware said. "But at that time it was already too late because I had already committed to Tennessee. It was just a couple of conversations but I think it will pick up since I was released from Tennessee today."

Had Louisville jumped into Ware's recruitment earlier, he might have chosen the Cardinals over Tennessee.

"If Louisville would have recruited me before my commitment it would have been a lot tougher decision than automatically going straight to Tennessee," Ware said. "Tennessee is similar to Louisville with the up-tempo and press. It would have been a lot tougher decision if Louisville and Tennessee had come after me at the same time."

Pitino, it's believed, is looking for a versatile guard capable of playing either backcourt position. Ware fits that bill. He played point guard and off the ball in high school and averaged 19 points and 9 assists as a senior.

"I could definitely do that," Ware said. "I don't see myself as only a point guard. I want to get my team involved first, but I can also score. I can guard the point or I can guard the two. If they need me to play the one or two it doesn't matter because I'm a combo guard.

"I played a lot of point guard, but down the stretch it was more me having to score. I can do both, but when my teammates need me to score I can score. But I always try to get my team involved first that shows what kind of player I was."

Ware said he's been talking with Louisville signee Zach Price recently and the future Cardinal has been talking up Rick Pitino's program. Ware also is familiar with Louisville-bound McDonald's All-Americans Chane Behanan and Wayne Blackshear.

"I played against Chane Behanan and Zach Price and me just got our conversation going trying to get me to go to Louisville," Ware said. "The other guard that's coming in from Chicago, [Wayne Blackshear] I would have played with him on the Adidas Nations team if I didn't break my hand. But I know him as a person. I've been talking to Zach and I'm getting to know those guys now. They do have a great recruiting class coming in. So if things go as planned and I feel comfortable with the coaches I could definitely see myself at Louisville."

Ware will be in Louisville in a few weeks to play in the Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic and he'll have a chance to get to know all four of Rick Pitino's incoming freshmen. Price, Behanan, Blackshear and Angel Nunez are all playing in the all-star game at the KFC Yum! Center.

"I'm certainly going to check out Louisville while I'm in town, but I don't want to say that will be my official visit because I'm coming up there to play," Ware said. "I'm really looking forward to playing there. They say the people are really great. I'm really looking forward to it."

Ware isn't planning to prolong the recruiting process. He's not interested in constant media exposure and he wants to find a new school as soon as he can. Besides Louisville, Ware said he's also hearing that Georgia, Georgia Tech, Florida State, UCF, Kansas, Georgetown and UCLA are interested in recruiting him.

"I'm definitely going to take a couple visits," Ware said. "I'm just waiting to see who is really going to recruit me so I can narrow my list. I don't want to have a big list being it's so late in the process. The most important thing will be me getting to know the coach well and just basketball. I want to make sure I have a good relationship with the coach, that's very important."

"The biggest factor is just making sure it's a good situation for my family and they will be able to come see me when they want," Ware added. "My mom is going to play a real big role. When it all boils down it will be me and my mom discussing the decision and try to figure everything out."

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