It took a mere four words for Kevin Ware to express his excitement at not having to wait another year to continue his comeback from his gruesome broken leg 15 months ago.
"Turrrrrnnnn upppppppp let's go!!!!!!!!" the former Louisville guard tweeted.
Ware, who transferred to Georgia State in April, learned Thursday the NCAA has decided to grant him a waiver enabling him to play for the Panthers next season. The Atlanta native is expected to have two years of eligibility remaining at Georgia State
“I am really excited for Kevin and his family,” Georgia State coach Ron Hunter said in a statement released by the school. “This is another huge boost for our team as Kevin is a talented guard who adds another dynamic to our roster. He has been working hard since his arrival and been welcomed by the team. I expect him to continue to work hard as we prepare for the upcoming season.
“I would like to thank the NCAA, University of Louisville and all of the members of the Georgia State staff who helped make this possible. It was a total team effort and greatly appreciated by the coaching staff and Kevin’s family.”
Ware's comeback bid should be one of the more intriguing storylines in college basketball next season given the staggering amount of attention his injury received during Louisville's 2013 national title run.
As he lay in front of the Louisville bench during the first half of an Elite Eight matchup with Duke, Ware called his teammates over and told them not to worry about his broken leg and to go win the game. Ware later became a rallying cry for his team and an instant celebrity nationally as the Cardinals routed the Blue Devils and defeated Wichita State and Michigan in Atlanta to capture the national championship.
Ware returned to a standing ovation during a Louisville exhibition victory over Pikeville on Nov. 7, but he lacked his former explosiveness and played just 53 minutes in parts of nine games this past season. The junior guard opted to redshirt after being kicked in the right leg against Missouri State on Dec. 17 and ultimately decided his best option was to transfer to a lower level.
Depending on how much of his former quickness and athleticism Ware can regain, his eligibility could be key for a Georgia State team with the potential to be one of the better mid-majors in the nation.
Georgia State won 25 games and went 17-1 in the Sun Belt Conference last year but had to settle for an NIT bid because of a loss to Louisiana-Lafayette in the conference tournament title game. With first-team all-Sun Belt guards R.J. Hunter and Ryan Harrow returning and Ware joining them in the backcourt, the Panthers have the potential to not only reach the NCAA tournament but perhaps do some damage.
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