Tennessee releases Kevin Ware from Letter of Intent

Tennessee men’s basketball coach Cuonzo Martin said on Wednesday he wants players who “want to be here.’’

Kevin Ware, a 6-foot-4 guard ranked No. 56 nationally by Rivals.com, expressed doubts about playing for the Vols since former coach Bruce Pearl was fired on March 21.

That proved to be enough for UT to release Ware from his National Letter of Intent on Thursday, according to UT’s compliance office.

Martin is in Houston with new assistant coach Jon Harris to attend the Final Four and interview candidates for the coaching staff and couldn’t be reached for comment.

Ware said Martin has called him, but the two did not meet in person.

Martin said on Wednesday he would do what was best for Ware, and that he wanted the opportunity to sit down with him before granting him a release.

Ware, who is from Rockdale County High School in Conyers, Ga., sent the following messages from his Twitter account Thursday:

“i wanna thank Coach Martin and UT for releasing me, Im looking forward to the next couple of weeks and getting my recruiting process going.

“Definately (sic) consider as Tennessee my #1 choice, I have no schools in my but all options are open.”

According to UT, guard Chris Jones of Memphis Melrose has not been released from his National Letter of Intent. Jones, ranked 39th in the Class of 2011, requested his release last week, according to The Commercial Appeal.

Martin has made it clear recruiting is a two-way street; not only do players have to want to play for him, but they must meet his requirements, too.

“I want the best guys out there; that said, we want guys with high level character and substance,’’ Martin said Monday, when asked about his recruiting philosophy. “I want a well-rounded young man.’’

Martin said it’s not always about getting the highest ranked players.

“It’s top 100 guys — it’s not always those top 10 guys,’’ he said. “When you’re trying to build ... it’s hard to have guys with one year, you want four-year guys.’’

The Oklahoman reported Thursday that Martin offered a scholarship to Josh Richardson, a 6-5 guard from Edmond (Okla.) Sante Fe High. Richardson, ranked No. 121 overall, also has offers from Georgia Tech, TCU and Providence.

Richardson averaged 16.5 points per game playing a variety of positions, including point guard.

“It’s been kind of hectic,” Richardson told the newspaper. “I’m just chilling now. There’s nothing I can do to help anything. I’m just waiting on calls to see what happens and where everybody ends up.”

Volquest.com reported Thursday that Harris was in Covington, Ga., to evaluate Derrick Henry, a 6-3 guard not rated by Rivals. Henry averaged 23.5 points per game and has offers from Chattanooga, Harvard, Richmond, Rice, Mercer and Northeastern.

“Coach Harris came by the school on Tuesday and we talked on the phone, and they were just letting me know that they wanted to check me out, let me know they were going to be looking at me and to expect to hear from coach Martin sometime next week after the Final Four,” Henry told Volquest.

“I’m still pretty open, I plan on taking some visits in April, but depending on what I hear from Tennessee, that’s definitely a school that I’d be interested in.”

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

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Comments » 206

md1542 writes:

Hope cuonzo has some other recruit lined up...especially if Harris and Hopson go

Huttdawg100 writes:

Well....

utvols420 writes:

Wow what an insightful article. I think the headline was longer than the actual article.

rbhobbs73#226545 writes:

Look around all you want Kevin....but PLEASE come back to Rocky Top. You will not regret wearing the Orange!

You said you were a VFL....Coach Martin did right by you....now just give him a fair chance to get to know you like you said you would.

If you do that, I believe we will still see you in the fall.

The1 writes:

Good luck at Duke or UNC guys ...

Orangeblood13 writes:

Hammy not callin anyone but himself

CTVol writes:

That really sukks! Hope it's not the start of a domino effect.

givehim6 writes:

There is a price.

armyvol22 writes:

If they don’t want to be here, then “good riddance.”

IdahoVol writes:

I like Martin's comment that the players should want to be here. Hopefully Coach will convince them this is still the best place to be. Would be nice to see them in Orange taking us back to the Dance!

buzz29 writes:

The stupidity involved here is almost too much to bear. First, clue to Ware: Mike Mamilton is the athletic director. He should not be the one to contact you. That is the responsibility of the new coach. No one is forcing you to do anything. If you don't know the new coach, make an effort to get to know him. Secondly, Harris and Hopson trying to go to the NBA is a joke. Harris has the raw ability, but needs one more year to get better and get the bigger $. Hopson is a great example of how badly the McD's High School All American ratings can get it wrong. He hasn't come close to fulfilling the hype. He will be eaten alive in the NBA, that is, if he makes it that far.

samvol writes:

we still have mcbee...who is a VFL...dont let the door hit ya!

bigdisbig writes:

Well....did Cuonzo talk to Kevin at all? Has he contacted Chris? This article is very vague. I hope these guys do give Cuonzo a chance and have a sit down discussion about their future. He seems to be a quality guy with great attributes.

fprex writes:

Going to be a Georgia Bulldog.

bUTchVFL writes:

Are you serious guys. The kid signed to play for Pearl. If he wants to leave let him leave. We'll get someone that wants to play for Martin. I equate it to us losing out on Ambles when Kiffin left but ended up replacing him with Justin Hunter. That one seemed to work out pretty good for us. VFL! GBO!

tulelakevol writes:

Whatever

TommyJack writes:

in response to fprex:

Going to be a Georgia Bulldog.

Why?

james#216392 writes:

I hope these guys come to play here but I can't blame them if they don't. We hired a "no named" coach, paid him almost ten times what he was making, and so far he hasn't done anything to convince me he is the man. I'm willing to give him a chance and hope he is a diamond in the rough but personally I would have been in Ware and Jones' house before I did anything else. When you wait a week, your chances get slim. Of course he is used to recuiting one star players and there are plenty of them around when ever you feel like going after them. I saw where coach Cal left after the elite eight game to visit a recuit and returned for the final four game. This is the kind of action it takes at this level. Coach Martin's actions may not be up to this level.

huntined#565710 writes:

Watching the 1991 TENN LADY VOLS play VA for the N.C Man I forgot what a good looking lady PAT was back then!!!Dawn Staley played for VA.

huntined#565710 writes:

Back to subject..Best to let the young man go..

chrisw2967 writes:

He will end up at Ga.

hallsguy writes:

FWIW,Southern Cal is on some pretty stiff probation and penalties and Lame didn't lose any recruits and they did a whole lot better than most thought.The PAC 10 was weak but Stanford or Oregon did ok.
BTW, it was Lame and Orgeron that caused the problems for SC so he got what he deserved going back

hillsborovol writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

By "looking at probation", do you mean a post-season ban? If so, I doubt it. USC only received a 2 year ban from much more serious and numerous proven issues related to the recruitment of O.J. Mayo. Lying about a picnic pales in comparison to money, flat screen TVs, etc. Even if Pearl stayed, at most we were probably looking at a one year probation for the team (maybe more for Pearl himself). Supposedly, by replacing Pearl, we are to receive less punishment...possibly only a temporary scholarship reduction. Calling someone ignorant on this one appears out of place.

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to CantStandSaban:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

still have a big orange broom with your name on it

FWBVol writes:

in response to james#216392:

I hope these guys come to play here but I can't blame them if they don't. We hired a "no named" coach, paid him almost ten times what he was making, and so far he hasn't done anything to convince me he is the man. I'm willing to give him a chance and hope he is a diamond in the rough but personally I would have been in Ware and Jones' house before I did anything else. When you wait a week, your chances get slim. Of course he is used to recuiting one star players and there are plenty of them around when ever you feel like going after them. I saw where coach Cal left after the elite eight game to visit a recuit and returned for the final four game. This is the kind of action it takes at this level. Coach Martin's actions may not be up to this level.

Coach Martin has been on the job less than four full days. I really don't know what you expect him to do in that amount of time.

Let's look at things objectively. In the last four days he's had to meet with the current players and help them work through the whole process of change. In a very real sense, he's recruiting those guys to stay.

And he's trying to put a staff together, which means meeting with candidates for the openings at UT.

CCM also is having to learn a little about the school he is now recruiting.

You say you are willing to give him a chance, but then you inject how you would have done things as if you have the coaching experience he doesn't.

If it is true what you are saying about Calipari, and I have no reason to doubt you, Calipari is able to leave Kentucky after his game because he's got everything in place. He probably made a quick plane trip to the kid's home town Sunday night and was back in time for practice Monday.

It's a lot easier to do things when all the pieces are in place than it is when you are laying the foundation for something, which is what CCM is having to do at this point.

Everything I read about the guy has winner written all over it. Coach Martin didn't make the mess, Bruce Pearl did.

acworthdave writes:

Good Luck Kevin, except when you play the Vols! You have to let them go under situations like this. Most players choose the coach, not the school. That happens all the time so let's not slam the young man for making a decision most kids make. Let's hope Martin did all he could to keep him.

Please don't defend Hamilton not calling our recruits. Most ADs do that knowing there needs to be communication between the players and the program during a coaching change. You don't leave kids hanging in limbo.

TheVolMan writes:

in response to Orangeblood13:

Hammy not callin anyone but himself

I'm sure the Hamilton Haters will continue their agenda. They're still bitter that Fulmer was removed even though they are in denial that he had to go. Sad people.

johnlg00 writes:

I noticed that Ware didn't say he WOULDN'T come to UT, he just reopened his recruitment. IIRC, he verbally committed to UT well over a year ago, at which point other schools may have stopped recruiting him. He formed a relationship with ex-CBP, and such relationships usually are more important to athletes than the school itself. If he will give CCM a full hearing and if after that hearing CCM still wants him, he might still come here. If not, there is no reason to blame the kid for going where he feels more comfortable, whatever that means to him. We may well be in for a hard slog for a couple of years at least. I will say that with ex-CBP gone, the NCAA sanctions MIGHT not be as bad as everybody thinks. However good Ware may be, he doesn't strike me as a one-man turnaround type of player. We can only hope CCM can get more out of the players who are left than CBP did, for whatever reason. If they can be at least respectable next season, CCM may be able to talk to prospects with more credibility than he has now.

newportvol writes:

good move by coach martin

pammyvol1000 writes:

Too much drama by this kid. We need someone who wants to really be a VFL!!

Orangeblood13 writes:

in response to TheVolMan:

I'm sure the Hamilton Haters will continue their agenda. They're still bitter that Fulmer was removed even though they are in denial that he had to go. Sad people.

hater? hardley

realist maybe,but he isn't going to do it, or he would have already

westknoxrepub writes:

Not a good start for Coach Martin, I doubt at this point in the year we're going to find comparable players. Guess he's in no hurry to win here. Next year isn't a pass, I expect him to win.

hbvol writes:

in response to newportvol:

good move by coach martin

Definitely a good move. Show the kid you trust him. He already says UT is his #1 choice, even post-Pearl. I predict he re-signs once he gets comfortable. Martin has an offense built around shooters. Ware would fit right in and there will be playin' time aplenty this fall. The sky is not falling. Go Vols!

winVol writes:

FIRE HAMILTON NOW PLEASE HOW MUCH FUTHER DO WE HAVE TO SINK GBO

Jimbobsopinion writes:

in response to TommyJack:

Why?

Staying close to home and his Momma.

VOLsince68 writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Coach Martin has been on the job less than four full days. I really don't know what you expect him to do in that amount of time.

Let's look at things objectively. In the last four days he's had to meet with the current players and help them work through the whole process of change. In a very real sense, he's recruiting those guys to stay.

And he's trying to put a staff together, which means meeting with candidates for the openings at UT.

CCM also is having to learn a little about the school he is now recruiting.

You say you are willing to give him a chance, but then you inject how you would have done things as if you have the coaching experience he doesn't.

If it is true what you are saying about Calipari, and I have no reason to doubt you, Calipari is able to leave Kentucky after his game because he's got everything in place. He probably made a quick plane trip to the kid's home town Sunday night and was back in time for practice Monday.

It's a lot easier to do things when all the pieces are in place than it is when you are laying the foundation for something, which is what CCM is having to do at this point.

Everything I read about the guy has winner written all over it. Coach Martin didn't make the mess, Bruce Pearl did.

Good post.

If he wants to look around, let him. If he wants to go, let him. CCM will find kids that want to be a VFL and not just tweet about it for fun........

GO VOLS!!!!!!!

tnoutlaw2001#228008 writes:

If UT gets hit with NCAAA probation or a reduction in scholarships, then Ohio State and Auburn should be placed on permanent probation and have their athletic programs put out of business. Bruce screwed up, and he has no one to blame but himself, but this other stuff going on around the country is ridiculous and the NCAA should be abolished if they can't levy out eqaul fair punishment to all these crooked coaches and boosters.

northernvavol writes:

in response to FWBVol:

Coach Martin has been on the job less than four full days. I really don't know what you expect him to do in that amount of time.

Let's look at things objectively. In the last four days he's had to meet with the current players and help them work through the whole process of change. In a very real sense, he's recruiting those guys to stay.

And he's trying to put a staff together, which means meeting with candidates for the openings at UT.

CCM also is having to learn a little about the school he is now recruiting.

You say you are willing to give him a chance, but then you inject how you would have done things as if you have the coaching experience he doesn't.

If it is true what you are saying about Calipari, and I have no reason to doubt you, Calipari is able to leave Kentucky after his game because he's got everything in place. He probably made a quick plane trip to the kid's home town Sunday night and was back in time for practice Monday.

It's a lot easier to do things when all the pieces are in place than it is when you are laying the foundation for something, which is what CCM is having to do at this point.

Everything I read about the guy has winner written all over it. Coach Martin didn't make the mess, Bruce Pearl did.

outstanding post,...spot on and well said. rip coach martin in a couple of years if the shoe fits...but he rates some latitude for the short term.

i think everyone's still feeling pretty raw what with kiffin and now pearl both treating their positions with reckless disdain. coach's dooley and martin both deserve some time to reassemble what 2 fools nearly destroyed in less than a year and a half.

orangepeel writes:

Unite UT fans. Send letters to the pres., the chancellor and the board of trustees. Tell them to fire Hamilton now or you will quit going to games,donating money and buying UT merchandise. This is the only way to get their attention.

thomastruxtun writes:

Would someone, please, please, please, for the love of Pete, bring Doug Dickey back!?!

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to thomastruxtun:

Would someone, please, please, please, for the love of Pete, bring Doug Dickey back!?!

Not if you want a winning basketball program.

VolinCalif writes:

in response to BodeaneVol:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Not that I know about. But I am sure willing to put the blame on him.

Madkels writes:

And the slide continues. PLEASE get rid of Hamilton!

VolNationPride writes:

in response to westknoxrepub:

Not a good start for Coach Martin, I doubt at this point in the year we're going to find comparable players. Guess he's in no hurry to win here. Next year isn't a pass, I expect him to win.

How is this not a good start exactly? How was it supposed to go? "Hi, I am Coach Martin, you have never met me or know anything about me but you should stay and play basketball for me!"..I am sorry, that is not how the real world works. Coach Martin did the right thing, he let him out of his LOI. Let the kid make the right decision for him, he didn't say he wouldn't be coming to Knoxville, he just said he wants to see what other schools are interested still.

If anyone thinks Coach Martin can make these kids stay here, especially in 4 days, then there is something really wrong with your brains.

Volborn writes:

in response to hillsborovol:

By "looking at probation", do you mean a post-season ban? If so, I doubt it. USC only received a 2 year ban from much more serious and numerous proven issues related to the recruitment of O.J. Mayo. Lying about a picnic pales in comparison to money, flat screen TVs, etc. Even if Pearl stayed, at most we were probably looking at a one year probation for the team (maybe more for Pearl himself). Supposedly, by replacing Pearl, we are to receive less punishment...possibly only a temporary scholarship reduction. Calling someone ignorant on this one appears out of place.

The coaching change will take care of the post season ban. We won't be dancing for 3-4 years now anyway.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to VolNationPride:

How is this not a good start exactly? How was it supposed to go? "Hi, I am Coach Martin, you have never met me or know anything about me but you should stay and play basketball for me!"..I am sorry, that is not how the real world works. Coach Martin did the right thing, he let him out of his LOI. Let the kid make the right decision for him, he didn't say he wouldn't be coming to Knoxville, he just said he wants to see what other schools are interested still.

If anyone thinks Coach Martin can make these kids stay here, especially in 4 days, then there is something really wrong with your brains.

Well, if the kid didn't even meet with Martin, don't release him. Secondly, if you do release him, make sure you do it conditionally, so he can't go to Georgia.

westknoxrepub writes:

in response to Volborn:

The coaching change will take care of the post season ban. We won't be dancing for 3-4 years now anyway.

If we haven't gone dancing after four years, we'll be looking for another coach.

TennVol01 writes:

Yaaaawwwwnnnnn

RoadTrip writes:

I have never heard so much anguish over one basketball recruit changing his mind. He is going from one coach where anything goes and I've got your back (sometimes); to a coach where you grow up, work hard, get coached up and learn to be a man. If a guy don't want the later - goodbye.

I would rather see Coach Zo get his own guys anyway so that when he is successful it will not be because he did it with Bruce's boys.

VolNExile writes:

in response to getsimmsout:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is there some particular reason that you think Ware would "cover his body in tatoos (sic) and do drugs all season"?

With fans like you waiting, I know his family can't wait for him to come here.

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