Next Thursday will mark the third anniversary of The Injury (click at your own risk, graphic images). Kevin Douglas Ware (New York, 1993) has finished his college career in Georgia State and, after three years, now feels fully healthy and ready to take his next step: a pro career.
How are you feeling right now?
Kevin Ware: I’m feeling great. Just trying to gain some weight, very focused on that right now. Not just gaining weight, it’s working on my entire body… Building muscle but at the same time keeping my quickness and speed. Getting bigger and keeping my speed. A lot of gym, taking care of my body.
Last year you played at the March Madness but in this one, without RJ Hunter and Ryan Harrow at Georgia State, things have been more difficult.
KW: Yeah, we lost those two guys, that’s almost 40 points per game… That’s a lot of offense. So we had new guys and it was tough compared to the year before. It was an up-and-down season, an OK season for us.
What about your game? You posted career-high averages in minutes (35.5), points (11.6), assists (3.1) and rebounds (3.7), and also played more at point guard.
KW: Yeah, I took more responsability on offense this year, and also they wanted me to play more the point guard position and get the other guys involved. It was fun, not like the year before where we played the Tournament. But you know, things happen.
I tried not to, but this will be another interview where you have to answer questions about the injury you suffered while playing with Louisville.
KW: No problem. I’m 100 percent healthy. I started to feel good since last year, you know, feeling my body like before. And now I’m just gaining some weight, improving physically now.
How many times have you watched the play?
KW: I saw it once like two years ago… And that was it, I didn’t need to see any more after that.
In which ways has this injury changed you as a person.
KW: You know… Basketball was all I had at the time, all I did growing up was playing basketball, and because of that injury, not being able to play for 8-9 months, just sitting there and only watching games, it was like ‘Damn’… Everybody had to help you with something, you can’t even walk yourself… You can’t even eat some stuff, drive or anything. What I mean is that process makes you appreciate things a lot more.
You became kind of a celebrity at the time of the injury, receiving huge media attention. You even read the Top Ten list on the Late Show With David Letterman. I guess the last couple of years have been more quiet and you’ve felt more comfortable getting through the recovery process.
KW: Way more. Just focusing on basketball. I don’t have to think about those things anymore.
Many NBA players showed their support.
KW: Yeah, Kobe Bryant called me, Paul George… Kevin Durant reached out. Former NBA players like Charles Barkley, Grant Hill… A lot of different people reached out, from different fields. The Rock reached out two or three times, even some fans showed their support and it really meant a lot to me. I really had no time for me to be like ‘damn, I broke my leg…’ So many people supporting me to come back as soon as possible that I didn’t have the time for being sad about it.
Other players have suffered serious injuries like Bronson Kessinger or Paul George. When you see something like that, I’m guessing you’re feeling it much more than somebody that hasn’t been through that. Like some kind of connection with that person.
KW: Definitely. When Paul George suffered his injury, I was one of the first people he reached out to, to ask me about the whole process. That was kind of like ‘Wow, somebody I look up to, one of my favorite players, reached out to me’. That was a dream come true when you think about it. You’re a kid in college and you just have to appreciate it.
You just signed with agent Marco Calise of Mansfield and Associates. Why did you choose this agency?
KW: I felt they were the best choice out there. There was people coming here and there, telling me ‘We’re doing this and this for you’, but the only person I always directly heard on a daily basis was Marco. I felt with Marco we’re getting it done.
So what’s your plan for the draft?
KW: I’m just working out, at the weight room, I’m now in Miami with a childhood trainer, working out every day. It’s too early really to talk about it, I’m just working out every single day. You just caught me between workouts. Obviously, the plan is the draft.
Are you going to the Portsmouth Invitational Tournament?
KW: I don’t know yet, I’ll know it soon.
Three years ago you suffered a terrible injury, and now we’re talking about draft workouts. I guess you’re excited about what’s coming.
KW: Yeah, just getting ready to take my next step in my life, it’s just a great feeling.