Cuonzo Martin plans to meet with Kevin Ware, family after Final Four

Tennessee granted basketball recruit Kevin Ware a release from his National Letter of Intent on Thursday, but there's still a chance Ware could play for the Vols next season.

New UT coach Cuonzo Martin said on Friday that he's scheduled to meet with Ware and his family after the Final Four concludes in Houston on Monday.

“It's like I said earlier this week, it's a matter of doing what's best for the young men we are recruiting,'' Martin said, “and a request for a release had been made and we honored that.

“You have to make sure guys are committed to a new staff. You want to get guys you know are committed, and make sure they know what they're getting themselves into.''

Meanwhile, Martin said he has talked with signee Chris Jones, a guard at Melrose High School in Memphis, and it's his understanding Jones no longer wants to be released from his National Letter of Intent.

Ware is a 6-foot-4 guard from Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Ga., and rated the No. 56 player in the nation by Rivals.com.

Martin said UT assistant coach Jon Harris watched Ware play on Tuesday and spoke with his father.

Jones is a 5-10 guard who is rated the No. 39 player in the nation by Rivals.com. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported last week that Jones wanted to be released from his National Letter of Intent. Jones could not be reached for comment.

The Vols have offered a scholarship to Josh Richardson, a 6-5 guard from Edmond (Okla.) Sante Fe High School who's ranked No. 121 overall.

Martin said his recruiting activity includes more than just looking at the available talent.

“It's not just recruiting at this point, it's evaluating from an academic standpoint,'' Martin said.

Tennessee will have between four and six scholarships available to offer in the Class of 2011, depending on the status of Freshman All-American forward Tobias Harris and All-SEC junior shooting guard Scotty Hopson.

Harris and Hopson have said they will declare for the NBA draft prior to the April 24 deadline. If the two don't sign with agents, they have until the NCAA-mandated date of May 7 to return to Tennessee without losing their eligibility.

The spring national signing period begins on April 13 and runs through May 18.

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Comments » 55

Razor784 writes:

Good to hear about Chris Jones. I think Ware is probably gone though, he's gonna take his release and run with it.

give_him_6 writes:

Good thing about Jones. I hope Ware will come back around. Maybe Coach Martin won't lay an egg right off the bat and he can get a little something going. It would be even better if Scotty and Tobias come back. We'll see.

12Hours writes:

In his tweet, just after getting the release, Ware said TN was still at the topof his list.
I think we have a very good chance of getting him.
He and his family were smart to request the release so they have options. Martin will have a fair shake at selling himself to Ware. If Ware says yes then both parties know they are truly committed to each other when they didn't have to be. This will be much more positive in the long run.
And if Ware doesn't come to TN then that's best for both him and Coach Martin.
I see this as all fair and good.

GerryOP writes:

in response to 12Hours:

In his tweet, just after getting the release, Ware said TN was still at the topof his list.
I think we have a very good chance of getting him.
He and his family were smart to request the release so they have options. Martin will have a fair shake at selling himself to Ware. If Ware says yes then both parties know they are truly committed to each other when they didn't have to be. This will be much more positive in the long run.
And if Ware doesn't come to TN then that's best for both him and Coach Martin.
I see this as all fair and good.

Absolutely! Well said.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

Wow that Chris Jones news is HUGE. I really really really hope Ware follows suit.

Chris4Vols22 writes:

Wow that Chris Jones news is HUGE. I really really really hope Ware follows suite.

Pullingguard writes:

in response to give_him_6:

Good thing about Jones. I hope Ware will come back around. Maybe Coach Martin won't lay an egg right off the bat and he can get a little something going. It would be even better if Scotty and Tobias come back. We'll see.

There is no egg laying here, anymore than Smith wanting out after Bruce arrived and that was on egg either. Recruits want to play with whom they were recruited, and they better watch the young man being recruited from Okla..6' 5" guard who is a driver to the basket with ball.. Something UT needs in worse way..

illinoisvolfan writes:

in response to give_him_6:

Good thing about Jones. I hope Ware will come back around. Maybe Coach Martin won't lay an egg right off the bat and he can get a little something going. It would be even better if Scotty and Tobias come back. We'll see.

I think things will be all right with Ware. If he finds a school where he's more comfortable, CCM won't want him to remain on the team, potentially miserable and a very possible distraction. That's fair enough. If the Vols remain tops on Ware's list, it's because he believes there's not a better situation out there for him. Additionally, CCM will have the Ware's respect immediately because he was fair, upfront, and honest with him. That will send a strong message to the rest of the team.

tennrich1 writes:

Grades and an evaluation by Coach probably will be a deciding factor here....May keep the offer in place or may release them...the three ball probably will appeal to both though....As far as Tobias, I just don't see him being a first rounder at this point...of course who am I... but he is such a heady player verses athletic that he really needs at least another year to develop that...of course the other view is he can develop that while he rides the bench for a year or two with an NBA team....I guess we wait and see...It would be nice for CCM to have all these guys available his first year and get a solid recruiting class under his belt....

SaintDeacon187 writes:

Hopson leaving early is a blessing in disguise for the Vols. Hurts to lose Harris though. If Martin is as hard-nosed as he seems Hopson would've only had two options next season...sit the bench, or grow-up and play like a mature player. The fact that he thinks he can leave early and play in the NBA with his fragile psyche is almost laughable. Four points against Michigan's freshmen and sophomores? Who does he think he is? I think Cuonzo Martin would've been the perfect coach for Hopson. He might've learned a thing or two about what it means to be tough and to not put your head down when you miss one shot. I wonder what he does when he sees a dead squirrel in the road?

RoadTrip writes:

in response to SaintDeacon187:

Hopson leaving early is a blessing in disguise for the Vols. Hurts to lose Harris though. If Martin is as hard-nosed as he seems Hopson would've only had two options next season...sit the bench, or grow-up and play like a mature player. The fact that he thinks he can leave early and play in the NBA with his fragile psyche is almost laughable. Four points against Michigan's freshmen and sophomores? Who does he think he is? I think Cuonzo Martin would've been the perfect coach for Hopson. He might've learned a thing or two about what it means to be tough and to not put your head down when you miss one shot. I wonder what he does when he sees a dead squirrel in the road?

You nailed it. Good post. Hopson's final decision will tell us whether he really wants to grow up or not.

87UTVOL writes:

Coach 'Zo is obviously on the ball, sending Asst. Coach Harris to see Ware in person and meet with him. And, setting up a meeting after the Final 4 with Ware and family. I'd say our coach will make a tremendous impression on the family.

Ware's gonna know Tennessee and Martin dealt with him fairly, but still wants him. He obviously likes Tennessee, so maybe Martin is able to re-recruit him. Maybe he goes somewhere else. If so, it won't be because of Coach Martin.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to 12Hours:

In his tweet, just after getting the release, Ware said TN was still at the topof his list.
I think we have a very good chance of getting him.
He and his family were smart to request the release so they have options. Martin will have a fair shake at selling himself to Ware. If Ware says yes then both parties know they are truly committed to each other when they didn't have to be. This will be much more positive in the long run.
And if Ware doesn't come to TN then that's best for both him and Coach Martin.
I see this as all fair and good.

This is a good post!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to GerryOP:

Absolutely! Well said.

Gerry, you're slipping, LOL.... How many days?

calvolfromkingsport writes:

How refreshing to hear a coach express comments that he is looking for players that are not only athletic, but smart,too. The base is being formed. Steady always wins the race.

GerryOP writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

Gerry, you're slipping, LOL.... How many days?

155 - Fear The Dooley Dude Guy...

VOL1972 writes:

This tells me CCM has some walking around sense. I would have been disappointed if he had handled it any other way. Recruits know he has their interests at heart and they don't need to be somewhere they don't want to be.

We've already got two 4* shooting guards who rode the bench most of last year. Martin certainly doesn't need another one with a bad attitude.

I also find it interesting that CJH watched Ware play Tuesday and CCM gave him a release on Thursday. Maybe CJH wasn't that impressed.

VOL1972 writes:

I'm not so sure Harris jumps to the Pro's. He is probably a late first round pick, could slip to 2nd round. I'm sure he is asking himself if staying a year will improve position or if the 2011-12 year is going to be a train wreck for the Vols.

Harris' dad and CCM have both been around the Pro game. That should help when they're trying to determine what's best for Tobias.

Ironcity writes:

in response to Chris4Vols22:

Wow that Chris Jones news is HUGE. I really really really hope Ware follows suit.

I heard from a reliable source that Jones is one of the top two or three PG in the nation and is very underrated by the services. That at UT's camp last year he ate Sealby's lunch. If its true that he is still committed the thats huge news. UT hasn't had good PG since Watson left. Hopefully Ware will follow and we can land another big man. I do have confidence in the guys we have (Hall and Maymon) but we have to have some debt especially if Harris goes pro.

Go Vols!

Down_The_Field writes:

in response to 12Hours:

In his tweet, just after getting the release, Ware said TN was still at the topof his list.
I think we have a very good chance of getting him.
He and his family were smart to request the release so they have options. Martin will have a fair shake at selling himself to Ware. If Ware says yes then both parties know they are truly committed to each other when they didn't have to be. This will be much more positive in the long run.
And if Ware doesn't come to TN then that's best for both him and Coach Martin.
I see this as all fair and good.

good post.

i like the way martin is handling this.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to Ironcity:

I heard from a reliable source that Jones is one of the top two or three PG in the nation and is very underrated by the services. That at UT's camp last year he ate Sealby's lunch. If its true that he is still committed the thats huge news. UT hasn't had good PG since Watson left. Hopefully Ware will follow and we can land another big man. I do have confidence in the guys we have (Hall and Maymon) but we have to have some debt especially if Harris goes pro.

Go Vols!

It's no rumor, this kid can straight up ball. He took Joe Johnson to school last yr in the state tourney. Johnson was a McD's A-A if I'm not mistaking. Problem is, Jones has been in 3 schools in a yr, one of those schools (Memphis Melrose) he has been in twice. So essentially it's as if he's been in 4 schools in a way. You can't help but to question academics and character. His dismissal from Oak Ridge Academy STILL has many scratching their heads.

But make no mistake, DUDE CAN BALL! But he has big flags and question marks like many of Pearl's top recruits.

martinvol34 writes:

in response to slaw_way:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What are you smoking? He needs to stay another season. There are so many great players ahead of both he and Scottie. Scottie doesn't have enough heart to leave yet but poof be gone by my preferences.

jkreis#632254 writes:

Glad I didn't see any quotation marks in this article; since Ware has been released it would be a rules violation for Coach Martin to speak specifically about him. The last thing we need is another witch hunt like the one that got Pearl bounced. Meanwhile Auburn, LSU, UConn, Ohio State, keep handing out the cash and favors; I guess the NCAA boys don't have a road map to Lexington! Still burns me that Pearl got reamed all year for lying about a bbq while Calhoun gets a pass from the media for letting players get paid via a third party that used to work for him! I guess justice isn't really blind. Just hope Coach Martin can put all this junk behind us and get us moving in a positive direction. Go Vols!

BigBadVol writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

It's no rumor, this kid can straight up ball. He took Joe Johnson to school last yr in the state tourney. Johnson was a McD's A-A if I'm not mistaking. Problem is, Jones has been in 3 schools in a yr, one of those schools (Memphis Melrose) he has been in twice. So essentially it's as if he's been in 4 schools in a way. You can't help but to question academics and character. His dismissal from Oak Ridge Academy STILL has many scratching their heads.

But make no mistake, DUDE CAN BALL! But he has big flags and question marks like many of Pearl's top recruits.

There are a lot of good posts on here. Good to see. Rich I heard he doesn't have the grades to get in and will have to the Juco route. Maybe CCM is referring to this point when he mentions academics.

TennVol01 writes:

Coach Martin sounds like a good man and a fair coach. I feel better about him each day.

acworthdave writes:

My problem with Harris going Pro is defense. There were many times this year when he was not able to stop his man. Also, he needs to improve his outside jump shot. He can make the occasional 3 but he has a set shot and teams let him shoot. He seems to have a great work ethic and smarts for the game. I hoep he uses those smarts and realizes he needs at least one more year. If I were his father, I would tell him to see how next season goes. If Martin impresses, why not stay for four years and be a lottery pick. I know that is a long shot but another year would be smart.

huntined#565710 writes:

I think coach has a good chance to keep Harris and Hopson next year..They both need to stay and get ready to play at a higher level..Hopson needs some TOUGH LOVE COACHING. If they leave coach will have to bring in a bunch of new players but maybe that is what we need just to start over with a new coach and whole new team.. Other then Harris and Hopson we have no players that can start next year.

Slystone writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

It's no rumor, this kid can straight up ball. He took Joe Johnson to school last yr in the state tourney. Johnson was a McD's A-A if I'm not mistaking. Problem is, Jones has been in 3 schools in a yr, one of those schools (Memphis Melrose) he has been in twice. So essentially it's as if he's been in 4 schools in a way. You can't help but to question academics and character. His dismissal from Oak Ridge Academy STILL has many scratching their heads.

But make no mistake, DUDE CAN BALL! But he has big flags and question marks like many of Pearl's top recruits.

Richie that was Joe Jackson that Chris Jones balled on while he was at Melrose. His reason for leaving Melrose was he was not eliglble to play his senior year (age) so he was enrolled at a military school. Something happen in between there an another school so he is back at Melrose to graduate. He is an offensive minded point guard similar to a Tony White back in the day, just not as tall. Many believe he was better than Jackson who struggled this season before having a light bulb moment down the stretch of the Tigers season.

pammyvol1000 writes:

Be careful what you wish for!!

kcbigorngX writes:

This is where the rubber hits the road as far as the future of Coach Martin and the UT mens basketball team is concerned.

His first recruiting efforts will set the tone for next season if he can inspire quality players to join/remain with him.

If he can bring in the talent as well as his new co-worker Derek Dooley there's going to be a lot crow being eaten by those who cried about CCM's hiring.

OrangePride writes:

I think Coach Martin is going about this precisely the right way. If someone truly wants to be somewhere else, then they will not really help Tennessee rebuild. Frankly, I believe when Ware and his family talk to CCM, they will be more enthused about coming to Tennessee than they were before. On a second matter, I hope CCM is looking VERY HARD for a big point man; someone who will come in here and be an inside threat. We were exposed on that weakness ALL YEAR. Harris is great #4, but he rarely pushed anyone around in the paint. We need an inside presence........big time!

mocsandvolsfan writes:

Jones/McCrae
Golden/Woolridge
Tatum/Ware
Maymon/?????
Hall/?????

Maybe Cam can keep his job with some new energy...WE need some bigs. That other guard from Oklahoma sounds alright.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

I suppose this is a possiblilty

Jones/Golden
Hopson/Tatum
Ware/Woolridge
Harris/Maymon
Hall/????/Harris
Still needs some bigs and I like the sound of a tall true point 6-6'5".

mocsandvolsfan writes:

OOPS Sorry McBee!

Jones/McBee/Woolridge visaversa Mc and Wooly!

utvols420 writes:

here is where espn has scotty and tobias.
http://www.nbadraft.net/2011mock_draft

utvols420 writes:

wait thats not espn

TNPilgrim writes:

Notice there's not a word about Harris - he's obviously gone to the NBA. Hopson will try to go, but he'll probably wind up in Turkey or Italy. Here's hoping this new coach is good with walk-ons.

vols1990 writes:

in response to TNPilgrim:

Notice there's not a word about Harris - he's obviously gone to the NBA. Hopson will try to go, but he'll probably wind up in Turkey or Italy. Here's hoping this new coach is good with walk-ons.

this article is about recruits not current players. i don't think there is any reason to assume from this article that he is gone. he very well may be. there is also no mention of hopson or any of the other players with eligibility left.

huntined#565710 writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I suppose this is a possiblilty

Jones/Golden
Hopson/Tatum
Ware/Woolridge
Harris/Maymon
Hall/????/Harris
Still needs some bigs and I like the sound of a tall true point 6-6'5".

I say they could win 5 games with that lineup

RichmondKyVol writes:

I think this moves is fair to the young man and shows that Coach Martin is a man of both character and confidence. He wants to recruit Ware on his own terms, and when he and his family see what kind of man and coach Martin is, I think Ware will be a Vol. I had never heard of Cuonzo Martin until he became our coach, but everything I've learned about him I like.

murrayvol writes:

in response to 12Hours:

In his tweet, just after getting the release, Ware said TN was still at the topof his list.
I think we have a very good chance of getting him.
He and his family were smart to request the release so they have options. Martin will have a fair shake at selling himself to Ware. If Ware says yes then both parties know they are truly committed to each other when they didn't have to be. This will be much more positive in the long run.
And if Ware doesn't come to TN then that's best for both him and Coach Martin.
I see this as all fair and good.

Exactly. Hope he joins us but I wish him the best if he doesn't.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to Slystone:

Richie that was Joe Jackson that Chris Jones balled on while he was at Melrose. His reason for leaving Melrose was he was not eliglble to play his senior year (age) so he was enrolled at a military school. Something happen in between there an another school so he is back at Melrose to graduate. He is an offensive minded point guard similar to a Tony White back in the day, just not as tall. Many believe he was better than Jackson who struggled this season before having a light bulb moment down the stretch of the Tigers season.

LOL, you sir are correct. I meant Joe Jackson, good catch. Yeah they said he HOOPED ALL OVER Jackson as a JR. Thanks for clearing up the school switch thing. HOWEVER, what are you hearing about his grades. I'm hearing it's good, I'm hearing it's bad.

MothershipChip writes:

Coach Zo made the right move by granting Ware the unconditional release as it shows he has the players backs. It further at least gives the impression that he is not a puppet for Mike Hamilton and the athletic department. If Ware wants to come to Tennessee after taking a look at all the available options then so be it, its a big decision for a young kid to make.

The news on Jones is big so long as he can make the grade.

If you look at the draft boards Hopson is a mid to late second round pick, which means D-league or cut. He will not be going anywhere unless he can't gel with CCM.

Harris is the coin flip in the situation as he is projected as a late first rounder. He seems to be a reasonable kid and my hope is that he will recognize his potential to better his stock for the 2012 NBA draft and stick with the vols. Only time will tell, but I support the kid in whatever decision he makes.

The future is bright Volunteers keep your head up high and remember why its great to be a part of Rocky Top Nation!

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

I suppose this is a possiblilty

Jones/Golden
Hopson/Tatum
Ware/Woolridge
Harris/Maymon
Hall/????/Harris
Still needs some bigs and I like the sound of a tall true point 6-6'5".

Hows bout

1)Golden/Jones
2)Hopson/Ware
3)Tatum/McRay
4)Maymon/Swiper
5)Hall/I have no damn clue.

If we don't get Ware and Jones doesn't qualify

1)Golden/McBee
2)Hopson/McRay
3)Tatum/McRay
4)Maymon/Swiper
5)Hall/I have no damn clue.

One thing that should help us is that CMM's style won't require a 10 deep rotation. I'm thinking our best players are gonna play most of the game. I've also got this funny feeling that Hopson will return. Harris said point blank that if he's a top 20 pick he's gone. If not he will evaluate his situation. Those are not his dad's words, but his. I'm assuming Harris will go pro, but IF he didn't that would be nice.

Rich_Is_Re-born writes:

in response to MothershipChip:

Coach Zo made the right move by granting Ware the unconditional release as it shows he has the players backs. It further at least gives the impression that he is not a puppet for Mike Hamilton and the athletic department. If Ware wants to come to Tennessee after taking a look at all the available options then so be it, its a big decision for a young kid to make.

The news on Jones is big so long as he can make the grade.

If you look at the draft boards Hopson is a mid to late second round pick, which means D-league or cut. He will not be going anywhere unless he can't gel with CCM.

Harris is the coin flip in the situation as he is projected as a late first rounder. He seems to be a reasonable kid and my hope is that he will recognize his potential to better his stock for the 2012 NBA draft and stick with the vols. Only time will tell, but I support the kid in whatever decision he makes.

The future is bright Volunteers keep your head up high and remember why its great to be a part of Rocky Top Nation!

Yeah, it's gonna be CLOSE on Harris and where he projects. Probably not as close for Hopson. Hopson and Harris are both good kids. I know we are hard on them, but both are good kids. Would love to see them back. 1 out of the 2 is a MUST for the sake of the team.

tennezz writes:

Harris needs another year maybe 2 before he is a 1st round pick!

UofTNVol writes:

I cracked my crystal ball a few weeks ago. Could you guys please tell me where you found yours? Thanks.

SouthernBoiNOLA writes:

in response to Rich_Is_Re-born:

LOL, you sir are correct. I meant Joe Jackson, good catch. Yeah they said he HOOPED ALL OVER Jackson as a JR. Thanks for clearing up the school switch thing. HOWEVER, what are you hearing about his grades. I'm hearing it's good, I'm hearing it's bad.

The newspaper in Memphis just reported that Chris Jones wants his release. He is upset that Martin still hasnt come to See him personally.

http://www.commercialappeal.com/news/...

volnvette03 writes:

in response to RoadTrip:

You nailed it. Good post. Hopson's final decision will tell us whether he really wants to grow up or not.

Right on! I imagine Martin would be the right medicne for Hopson. His no-nonsense disipline could work wonders for Scotty.

madrigal writes:

This is a positive note. Coach Martin is not giving up on the kid. I like that.

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