Tennessee basketball commitment Kevin Ware heard the ribbing he expected at school on Tuesday after the Vols' exhibition-game loss to Division ll Indianapolis on Monday night.
"A whole bunch of Georgia fans were throwing it in my face,'' said Ware, who attends Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Ga. "They were saying, 'If Tennessee loses to them, who else will they lose to? You could go to Georgia.' "
Ware said that's not going to happen, and the 6-foot-4 point guard said he'll make it official by signing with the Vols at a press conference at his high school Wednesday afternoon.
Chris Jones, a 5-10 combo guard attending Oak Ridge (N.C.) Military Academy, also will sign with the Vols on Wednesday, according to a press release from his school.
Ware said he has an idea what happened to 23rd-ranked Tennessee in the 79-64 loss to Indianapolis.
"A lot of new players, and it was just a scrimmage, a wake-up call probably,'' Ware said. "Not signing with Tennessee would be like turning my back on family. I talked to the athletic director ( Mike Hamilton), and he told me Bruce (Pearl) would be the coach there.
"I want to play for him in that system, and as long as he's there, I'm there.''
Ware, who's rated as the No. 56 overall player by Rivals.com and No. 91 by Scout.com, said he was surprised when Memphis' Adonis Thomas announced he would sign with Memphis.
"I talked to him, and he pretty much let me know it was because Coach (Pearl) didn't have his contract signed,'' said Ware, who starred with the Atlanta Celtics AAU team last summer before being sidelined by a broken bone in his hand. "He was worried about that.''
Hamilton has since said negotiations are going well with the contract and said he considers it a "formality" that it would be signed shortly.
Jones, rated No. 39 overall by Rivals.com and No. 56 by Scout.com, was Thomas' teammate at Melrose High School last year before transferring to his North Carolina military academy.
Jones was the Class AAA state tournament MVP last year, scoring 35 points in Melrose's 75-70 state-title win over White Station and Memphis signee Joe Jackson.
The Vols still hope to sign a wing and/or a big man in the spring signing period.
UT loses senior posts Brian Williams and John Fields, and junior shooting guard Scotty Hopson could declare himself eligible for the NBA draft after this season.
The Vols' recruiting efforts will be hampered, however, as they have been serving an off-campus recruiting ban since Sept. 24 as part of UT's self-imposed sanctions relating to the ongoing NCAA investigation.
The NCAA is expected to deliver a letter of allegations in December that theoretically will outline the findings of the enforcement staff's investigation.
UT will respond to the letter before the case goes into the summary disposition phase. Ultimately, the case will likely go before the committee on infractions as early as February but more likely in April.