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Tuesday, May 31, 2011
After all, Kevin Ware picks Louisville

By Eamonn Brennan

Remember Kevin Ware? Ware is one of two Tennessee recruits that was caught up in the mess Bruce Pearl created for himself before he departed Knoxville earlier this year. When Pearl departed, the previously committed Ware decided perhaps Tennessee wasn't for him after all.

So he gained his release, looked at some other schools, and eventually settled on Central Florida, where -- you almost couldn't make this up -- he immediately found himself in the middle of another recruiting mess. This time, that mess stemmed from the NCAA's investigation into 42-year-old Chicago native Ken Caldwell for his supposed connections to Nike and UCF. Ware de-committed from UCF when he learned the nature of Caldwell's background, and his recruitment was once again open.

After all that, according to ESPNU's recruiting analysts, Ware chose the Louisville Cardinals as his eventual college hoops destination. I'm betting everyone is glad that one is over.

It was a long road for Ware, no doubt. As if picking a school the first time wasn't hard enough. Thanks to the late nature of his commitment and the circumstances surrounding his letter of intent at Tennessee, he won't be able to sign a letter of intent at Louisville. Instead, he'll sign a grant-in-aid agreement, which is non-binding until he arrives at Louisville this fall.

Ware would have been a star at UCF. At Louisville, he's merely another top-100 recruit in what has turned out to be an impressive 2011 recruiting class for Rick Pitino. The Cardinals's 2011 class -- ranked No. 9 overall by ESPN earlier this month -- includes Wayne Blackshear, Chase Behanan, and Zach Price, the No. 26, No. 27, and No. 56-ranked players in the ESPNU top 100. All are ranked among the top 10 players at their position in 2011. Now, with the addition of Ware, that class gets another top-100 player, a promising but raw guard who will look to develop his overall floor game -- he's already an elite finisher around the rim -- under Pitino.

All in all, despite the various tugs and pulls on Ware from any number of less-than-seemly directions, it seems he made a pretty solid choice, one he may have made before the UCF fiasco anyway. Instead, Ware took the long way around. But hey, as long as you get where you're going, never mind a few detours along the way.