Kevin Ware finally chooses a school — Louisville

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It finally appears as if Kevin Ware’s recruitment is over.

Ware, who ranks 88th in the country in the consensus recruiting rankings, is headed to Louisville.

The 6’4″ product of Rockdale County High School in Georgia had one of the stranger recruiting processes. He originally committed to Tennessee as a sophomore in high school, signing his NLI back in November. But with the shenanigans that Bruce Pearl found himself tied up in, Ware eventually got a release from the school. He then committed to Central Florida, but de-committed just 10 days later when Pete Thamel and Pat Forde exposed potential recruiting violations, including Ware’s.

“It has been a long journey, with a few twists and turns, and now it’s all done,” Ware’s stepfather, Wesley Junior, told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

“Kevin is excited about the opportunity to learn the game of basketball from Coach Pitino, who has been successful on every level. Kevin couldn’t pass on that opportunity. Kevin’s excited, we’re excited and Coach Pitino is excited.”

Louisville never let up on Ware, and now it is finally paying off. Ware joins a recruiting class that includes two all-americans in Wayne Blackshear and Chane Behanan, four-star center Zach Price, and three-star wing Angel Nunez.

It is worth noting that this commitment by Ware may have some ripple effects. The Cardinals are thought to be the favorite for Juwan Staten. Staten, if you remember, started at the point for Dayton as a freshman — leading the A-10 in assists — before opting to transfer when Brian Gregory left. He committed to Penn State, but with Ed DeChellis taking the job at Navy, Staten is reopening his recruitment. He would be eligible in 2012-2013.

Ware’s commitment may also have an effect on sophomore-to-be Russ Smith. Smith was supposed to be Peyton Siva’s back-up this past season, but he lost the job to Elisha Justice.

Since Ware was released from his Letter of Intent to Tennessee, he cannot sign another LOI with another school. That means that when he finally does put his pen to paper at Louisville, he will only be signing an athletic-aid agreement. Athletic-aid agreements are only binding for the school, not the athlete, which means that if Ware once again gets cold feet, he will be able to reopen his recruitment.


Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that.

Syracuse receives mixed news on sanctions appeals

Jim Boeheim
Associated Press
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Wednesday the NCAA made its ruling on two appeals of sanctions made by Syracuse University, with the news being mixed for the men’s basketball program.

On the positive side the NCAA ruled that Syracuse will be docked two scholarships per season for the next four years, as opposed to the original ruling of three. As a result Jim Boeheim’s program only has to account for the loss of eight total scholarships, meaning that they’ll have 11 to fill in each of the next four seasons as opposed to ten.

One scholarship may not seem like a big deal, but in a sport where you only get 13 (when not dealing with sanctions) getting that grant-in-aid back really helps from a recruiting standpoint.

As for the negatives, they both concern Boeheim. Not only has there yet to be a ruling on Boeheim’s appeal of his nine-game suspension that goes into effect when ACC play begins in January (that appeal is being heard separately), but the appeal to reinstate the wins that were vacated as part of the sanctions was denied. As a result Boeheim officially has 868 wins instead of 969 (not counting today’s game against Charlotte).

And with Mike Hopkins set to take over as head coach in 2018, the denial means that college basketball will have to wait quite some time before anyone threatens to join Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski in the 1,000 wins club.

While not having the wins officially reinstated does hurt, getting a scholarship back for each of the next four seasons is a bigger deal when it comes to the long-term health of the Syracuse program. Also of great importance will be the ruling regarding Boeheim’s suspension, as a suspended coach is not allowed to have any contact with his players or coaching staff while serving the penalty.

And with the original ruling due to take up half of Syracuse’s league slate, not having Boeheim (or the chance to speak with him) is a big deal when it comes to this current team.

St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe cleared by NCAA

Chris Mullin
AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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St. John’s forward Kassoum Yakwe has been cleared by the NCAA to play this season and will be eligible immediately, the school announced on Wednesday.

Yakwe is a 6-foot-8 forward that reclassified and enrolled at St. John’s this fall. He attended the same high school as Kansas forward Cheick Diallo, who was also cleared by the NCAA to play today.

St. John’s played in the Maui Invitational this week, and Yakwe did not take part. His first game with the Johnnies will be on Dec. 2nd against Fordham if the program plans to play his this season.

The question that must be asked, however, is whether or not he will suit up or simply redshirt. The Johnnies are in the midst of a serious rebuild and will be without their other elite recruit this season, Marcus Lovett. Lovett was ruled a partial qualifier. Would it make sense to burn a year of eligibility on what make amount to a wasted season, or will head coach Chris Mullin opt to save that year for down the road?