The Kevin Ware (Kevin Where?) saga may have finally come to a close as Scout.com is reporting that the athletic combo guard gave a verbal commitment to Rick Pitino during his visit to U of L on Sunday.
Ware originally signed with Tennessee, but was granted a release after head coach Bruce Pearl resigned. He next committed to Central Florida, but backed off that commitment after his recruitment was featured in two national stories which alleged shady recruiting practices on the part of UCF.
In late April, Ware signed a letter of intent and athletic-aid agreement with Central Florida, but his LOI was denied because of an NCAA rule which prohibits a prospective student athlete from signing twice in the same year. Conversely, the athletics-aid agreement was accepted and binded UCF to honoring the basketball scholarship to Ware. But not vice versa.
Here's how one NCAA official explains it:
If a PSA (prospective student athlete) receives a complete release, he is not permitted to sign another NLI in the same signing year. In this case, the second NLI would not be valid. The PSA could only sign an athletics aid agreement. The athletics aid agreement is only binding on the institution. Thus, the PSA could change his mind and attend another institution and not be subject to any penalty.
This same rule will prohibit Ware from being able to sign a national letter of intent with Louisville. So, technically, he is still free to commit and, eventually, play for another school.
Ware is advertised as a combo guard with tremendous athleticism and, at times, a knack for turning the ball over. Despite this, he's likely to get a first look at point guard when he arrives on campus since minutes at the two will be hard to come by with both senior Chris Smith and freshman All-American Wayne Blackshear in the fold.
It'll also be interesting to see how this decision effects the thinking of Dayton transfer Juwan Staten, who is set to visit Louisville on Tuesday, and has been hinting that the Cardinals are his favorite. Staten, who led the Atlantic 10 in assists as a freshman in 2010-2011, would have to sit out next season before becoming eligible in 2012-2013.
Ware's commitment might also have an effect on the future of sophomore-to-be Russ Smith, who lost the backup point guard job to classmate Elisha Justice for the bulk of last season.
Ware becomes the fifth member of Rick Pitino's recruiting class of 2011, joining McDonald's All-Americans Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan, as well as four-star prospect Zach Price, and three-star player Angel Nunez.