Lance Ware is one of the five returning contributors from last season’s roster, but he’s easily the least experienced of the group.
The 6-foot-9 power forward out of New Jersey was mainly a spark off the bench when the team needed a shot of energy or physicality, but his role didn’t go far beyond that at only 12 minutes per game through his first year.
When it comes to Ware this season, the biggest thing is what he’s added to his game. No one expects him to be a consistent double double, but does he have the potential to be more than the player with the “scrappy” label. He showed flashes of a nice hook and some really nice touch on layups and putbacks, but is that as far as his game can go?
Ware was usually hit or miss as a defender, but he’s a load on the glass as a strong box out player. All the parts are there for a productive college role player as a big, but now it’s on him to piece them together.
One thing that’s been very noticeable during the team’s early season appearances is how much bouncier he’s looked. He usually fought under the rim as as a freshman to get his points off the offensive glass, but he’s been getting up much higher in his attempts both during the Fan Fest, as well as Big Blue Madness.
That may not get to shine that much in real game action, but it’s worth noting that he does look more athletic compared to last year.
Player Comparison: Tai Wynyard
I wanted to take this more in an EJ Montgomery direction, but Montgomery was just way more skilled than Ware is right now, and he played a much bigger role during his time at Kentucky, specifically during what was his sophomore season.
Wynyard only really played during the end of games, which makes it feel like Ware is getting sold short with this comparison, but he had moments as a similar player to Lance as a scrapper and someone who’d fight on the glass when given opportunity, even if he never had the most polished offensive game. Ware is the better player between the two, but taking an even slight jump as a sophomore and producing when he does get his moments would be major for the roster.
Ware feels like a player without a defined role going into this season. That might be something he finds during the year, but he’ll very likely be the physical, scrappy, energy big man off the bench that the staff uses in specific situations with the front court as crowded as it is. He’s not projecting to be a big time contributor on this team early on but, if he can carve out some more minutes because of his work on the glass and potential improvement on the defensive end as a sophomore, Ware might just earn his way into the rotation slowly as the year goes on and progresses.