By Kris Rhim
When Lance Ware started playing basketball in the eighth grade, he was unsure if hoops was the right sport for him. In his first workout, Ware, standing six-feet five-inches tall, skinny, and nervous couldn’t make a jump shot; barely could dribble and was frustrated working on basic basketball drills.
“At first I didn’t have a love for it. I was kind of like, ehh I don’t know,” Ware said. “Then out of nowhere, I saw myself getting better and I just stuck with it. I’ve been getting better ever since. I love it now.”
Fast forward four years later, the now six-foot-nine, 215-pound senior forward is one of the best players in the country. The Camden high senior is currently the 43rd overall recruit in the country according to ESPN’s 2020 high school class rankings.
In November, Ware signed his National Letter of intent to play college basketball at the University of Kentucky. The Wildcats have one of the most storied basketball programs in the country with eight national titles all-time, second only to UCLA’s 11.
Along with a Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee at head coach in John Calipari, the Wildcats become an easy school to pick for most recruits.
For Ware, however, he wasn’t looking to go to the biggest name or the school with the most pedigree. The four-star recruit wanted to make sure that whatever school he chose to attend he could feel comfortable and learn the most to improve his basketball career and overall life.
“He didn’t talk much about basketball, it was really a normal conversation, it was more about life,” Ware said. “He’s one of the best basketball coaches in the nation, so he can teach us life lessons and basketball lessons at the same time. Can’t beat that.”
Camden got the W. Ware scored 18pts 14rebs and was named most outstanding player.
Story on Ware coming soon. https://t.co/9UtOOmlvWu
— Kris Rhim (@krisrhim1) January 19, 2020
He ultimately chose Kentucky over a bevy of other schools including, Miami, Michigan, Providence and Ohio State.
Ware is currently in the midst of his senior season at Camden High School in New Jersey and feels that his last year will be his best to date.
“This is my favorite team I’ve ever played on,” Ware said. “From AAU, to high school, to camps, it’s the best. I’m having a great time, especially with the youngsters. I see a lot of potential in our younger guys because they’re really not lazy and they work hard every day.”
Another aspect that Ware loves about his team is the standard that first year head coach Ric Brunson holds all his players to. Brunson, a former NBA player and coach, brings knowledge and experience that would match any coach in the country.
At Camden’s practice prior to their matchup with ESPN’s No. 18 ranked team in the country, Rancho Christian, Ware was late on a shift in the defensive zone. Brunson stopped the entire practice to yell at Ware and let him know that plays like that could lose them games.
“Coach keeps me humble,” Ware said laughing. “He keeps everybody on the team humble. He doesn’t show favorites to anybody, and by him being so real with us — all one through 13 — we know that there’s nobody more important than the other person at all.”
On Saturday, Ware matched-up against the consensus No. 1 player in the country Evan Mobley live on ESPN3. Camden got the win 61 – 59 in front of a sold-out crowd and Ware earned the most outstanding player award finishing with 18 points, 14 rebounds, 4 steals and 1 block.
So much for that nervous eighth grader that felt “ehh” about basketball.
Photos Courtesy of Joe Arruda