Ware to fit in

Photo Courtesy: Louisville Athletics Kevin Ware committed to Georgia State during his visit with Coach Ron Hunter.

Ron Hunter was on his second day of the job as the head coach of Georgia State. He went on the road to do some early recruiting in Rockdale County in east Georgia. While he was there to specifically see someone, another player by the name of Kevin Ware instantly caught his attention.

Hunter said he thought to himself “Man, I want to get a guy like that,” as he glared over the 6-2, 175-pound high school senior. However, Ware was already committed to Louisville University in Kentucky, and the player Hunter was there to see ended up committing to Florida Golf Coast.

It ended up not being a successful trip. Well, that’s at least what Hunter thought at the time.

Over the years, the Louisville guard became a star and was a part of the 2012-13 team that battled its way to a national championship title. Yet, after two injuries and growing weary for home, he was ready for a change, and he remembered Hunter at Georgia State who was impressed at just the mere sight of him.

After wavering between Georgia State and Auburn, Ware decided to become part of Hunters’ family and play for an emerging mid-major school.

Ware committed to Georgia State quickly during his visit to the University on April 12 and is currently petitioning to the NCAA for immediate eligibility.

Ware arrives at Georgia State a junior who played three seasons with Louisville. However, Ware was ready to be closer to home after suffering from two lasting injuries, one which made him a medical redshirt in his third season.

In the 2012-13 season, Ware averaged 4.5 points per game and shot more than 40 percent from the field and on threes.

Ware is healthy now, and Hunter said he has no doubt he fits the mold at Georgia State.

“He’s a basketball player,” Hunter said, explaining that he hates limiting guys to just one position or role.

“I want basketball players, guys who are going to play three, four different positions, and that’s what he can do,” Hunter said.

Senior Ryan Harrow transferred last season from Kentucky and said he was in the same boat last year that Ware was in with wanting to play closer to home to be near family.

“[Ware] has so many friends and family around here,” Harrow said. “He was able to see his friends, his mom and dad, [and] everybody like that [during his visit].”

Harrow said he thinks that is why Ware was able to decide quickly.

Harrow and Ware have been friends since Harrow’s junior year of high school where the two played on the same Amateur Athletic Union basketball team, the Atlanta Celtics.

Harrow said he did not pressure Ware on coming to Georgia State, but when he heard he was thinking about transferring, he was almost certain Ware would be joining the team.

“I think he saw how I did it coming from Kentucky and doing so well this year,” Harrow said. “He feels like he can come in and help us out any way.”

Senior Forward Curtis Washington said Ware will fit perfectly into the Panthers’ defensive system and help fill a scoring gap created by Devonta White and Manny Atkins who are graduating.

“[Ware] is gong to be able to keep his opponent on the perimeter and lock them down so it will decrease penetration, and it will work good with our two defense,” Washington said.

“I don’t think the scoring… from last year leaving, I don’t think that’s gong to be a problem. We have pieces to make up for it,” he said, adding he’s going to do his part to fill the scoring gap.

Washington was also well acquainted with Ware before he visited Georgia State. He said the two met a couple of years ago following Ware’s championship season in Kentucky. Washington is native of Elizabethtown, Ky. which is just outside Louisville.

Washington described Ware as a fun and goofy guy who’s always smiling.

“He’s going to be a real joy to have around on the team and on campus,” Washington said.

Ware became an inspiration across the country after a terrible injury he sustained in the 2013 men’s basketball tournament where he broke his leg on a 3-point shot. He only missed the last few games of Louisville’s National Championship run in Atlanta, but then only played nine games of the 2013-14 season after sustaining another injury.

Hunter said he has no doubt that Ware is healthy, and if he had any doubts, he would not have pursued him.

“If I had 10 things I had to worry about, that would be number 10,” Hunter said on Ware’s health. “I’m not worried about at all.”

The men’s basketball team also picked up transfer Jeremy Hollowell last week from Indiana. Hollowell is friends with Hunter and his son R.J. Hunter as the two played together.

Washington said Hollowell is a little quiet, but not standoffish. He said the team will be able to stretch the floor with Hollowell that will lead to some big points.

Hollowell likely will not play next season as he will sit out per NCAA transfer rules.

Harrow said last year’s team that won the outright Sun Belt title and made it to the NIT Postseason tournament was good, but now Ware and Hollowell will take them to a new level in the next few years.

“I thought we did pretty good this last year, but add in two guys like that, it can never hurt you.”