It's a significant late addition for the Cardinals, who are expected to be a Top 10 2011-12 team. Ware will play a key role for Louisville, helping junior Peyton Siva man the point guard position next season.
For Ware, a four-star recruit, it's the end of a grueling recruiting process. The Top 100 prospect signed with Tennessee last fall, but re-opened his recruitment after Bruce Pearl was fired because of NCAA problems. Ware committed to Central Florida shortly before playing in the Kentucky Derby Classic last month, but re-opened his recruitment after the New York Times raised questions about the Knights use of Ken Caldwell, a reputed ‘runner,' during the recruiting process.
Ware visited Georgia earlier this month, but picked Louisville after visiting the Cardinals the past two days.
"He visited Georgia, but he knew Rick Pitino was a great coach and he wanted to come down and get a feel for the rest of the staff and players, which he got a chance to do [this weekend] and he's comfortable with his final decision," Ware's mother, Lisa Mack, told InsideTheVille.com. "He wanted the whole process to be over with after all the drama that went on during his recruitment process. After Tennessee he has a bad taste. He's happy with the decision and he's ready to play and learn from Coach [Pitino]."
Pitino has been looking for another point guard to spell Siva since last summer. After several recruits turned down the chance to play at Louisville, including Marquis Teague, Josiah Turner, Tony Wroten, Ware decided he could not turn down the chance to play for a championship with the Cardinals.
"[Coach Pitino] told [Kevin] he could teach him to be a true point guard and said that Kevin's style of play would help the team," said Mack. "Kevin came up a few hours before we got here and got to meet everybody – all the academic people as well as the players – and we all went out to eat and talk to each other and lay everything out on the table of what [Kevin] wanted and what the school expected. He's just really comfortable with the [decision]."
Ware, an athletic prospect, led his high school team to the Georgia state finals, averaging 19 points and 9 assists per game this season. He scored eight points in the Derby Classic, teaming with fellow Louisville signees Chane Behanan, Zach Price and Angel Nunez. Before he left campus, Ware played a few pickup games with his future teammates.
"This morning they played a few games and they looked really good together," said Mack. "He still has a lot of growing to do, but it's going to be a good [fit] for him."
Ware becomes Louisville's fourth Top 100 recruit for next season, joining Top 25 prospects Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan and Jeffersontown center Zach Price. Though Ware can't sign a national letter of intent with Louisville, Mack said her son will enroll at Louisville on July 2.
"He's excited and ready to come to school and play and be a part of Louisville," she said.
Ware's recruitment likely signals the end of Louisville's recruiting efforts for next season, though the Cardinals already have one transfer lined up for the 2012-13 season (George Mason wing Luke Hancock) and will host Dayton point guard transfer Juwan Staten Tuesday.
Prior to Ware's decision, Louisville's 2011 recruiting class was ranked seventh-best nationally according to Scout.com.