The class of 2020 is starting to see some it’s top ranked players verbally committing, and the Kentucky Wildcats remain right in the thick of it.
After recently securing commitments from Brandon Boston and Cam’Ron Fletcher, the Cats appear set to land Lance Ware, a four star power forward with loads of potential.
It was clear that Coach Calipari saw something in Ware over the summer, which led to an offer coming in July. Predictions began to pour in for Kentucky as the favorite to land the Camden (NJ) native, including recent picks from Evan Daniels of 247 Sports and Corey Evans of Rivals.
Currently out of the 14 picks from both sites, all but one is in favor of the Cats.
Ware took an unofficial visit to Lexington in 2018 for Big Blue Madness but just received his offer on July 26th. He emerged as a top 50 prospect after having one heck of a summer and impressing coaches on the AAU circuit. That netted him offers from the Wildcats, Michigan Wolverines, Louisville Cardinals, Ohio State Buckeyes and Oregon Ducks among many others.
Playing for the NY Renaissance, Ware averaged 10.2 points and 5.8 rebounds per game on the Nike EYBL circuit. He stepped up his play at Peach Jam by averaging 14.4 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks over five games.
At 6-9 and 215 pounds, Ware will likely continue to grow and develop into an even bigger force in the paint. He is definitely somewhat of a project in terms of his ball handling ability, but his rapid progressions over the last several months have attracted the coaches from some of America’s top programs. Those coaches are banking on his development continuing to move at that accelerated rate that was seen over the last few months.
Ware also has a nice jumper from inside the arc and has nice touch around the rim. He also is the ideal big man for a team that likes to run, as he runs the floor well and can pass well on the fastbreak. He moves his feet well and is agile enough to guard the perimeter, something Calipari loves having from his bigs.
Ware does need to bulk up and add muscle if he’s going to hold up against college bigs, especially in the SEC grind. The good news is he has a season of high school basketball, then an offseason of training in a college weight program before he makes his collegiate debut.
By this time next year, he should be ready to start in the frontcourt, which is what Kentucky desperately needs with the likely defections of EJ Montgomery and Nick Ricards to the pros while Nate Sestina graduates.
It is kind of hard to determine what definitively pushed Coach Calipari to extend an offer to a four star prospect while it’s still this fairly early on in terms of the recruitment for most of the 2020 big men, including Isaiah Jackson, Greg Brown and Isaiah Todd, all of whom already hold offers from Kentucky.
And while he has some growing to do, Ware already has a tenacity and fight in him that you love to see from a frontcourt players. He’s relentless in his fight for rebounds and will bring an added edge to whatever school lands him.
The UK coaching staff actually had the chance to watch Ware play while in attendance to see his AAU teammate, Jonathan Kuminga. Kuminga is a unanimous top three player in the class of 2021 who could eventually move into 2020.
Another interesting facet to Ware’s connection with Calipari is that he attends the same high school as former Memphis guard Dajuan Wagner. Of course, Wagner was one of the most lethal scorers in high school basketball history before playing for Coach Cal at Memphis.
Regardless of how they located Ware, you cannot question UK’s methods for identifying potential when they see it. He will have the opportunity to finish his high school career as a five-star recruit and could even knock on the door for a McDonald’s All-American invitation if he continues to play the same way he did this summer. He may just be one of the most underrated players in the class of 2020.
Now, Ware is set to make his college commitment on Thursday, Sept. 12. All signs point to Kentucky being the pick, so it looks like Calipari is about to land his first big man of the 2020 class.