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.