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WATCH: Lance Ware breaks down game, decision to play at Kentucky

Lance Ware. Men’s basketball practice. Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

Photo by Chet White | UK Athletics

What do you need to know about Kentucky freshman forward Lance Ware? The four-star signee out of Camden, NJ spoke with reporters Wednesday morning to break down his game, what he hopes to bring to the table in year one, and why he decided to play for John Calipari and the UK basketball program.

Check out the transcript and watch the complete interview below:


On Isaiah Jackson referring to him as a smaller version of teammate Olivier Sarr …

I mean, that’s a compliment, honestly. Olivier is a really skilled player and obviously he’s 7-foot, I’m 6-9, 6-10. Olivier can really shoot it, very versatile, so honestly I don’t take any offense. I honestly think that’s a compliment, obviously being an older guy, his knowledge for the game, his ability to rebound and block shots. It’s all there.

On being known as a guy who is always going to bring energy …

That’s definitely true. I try to mix things up, attack the glass, play with a lot of energy. Sometimes that’s half the battle, trying to get your team going. If someone doesn’t have the energy, if they see me working hard and chasing loose rebounds, doing all the little stuff, it rubs off on the team in a positive way. That’s just what I do.

On how he would describe his offensive game …

Mid-post, catch and face-up game, it all depends on who’s guarding me. I’m getting stronger, so I’ve got a little bit of a back down, back to the basket game. Jump hooks and all of that. Just try to make one move and get past my defender, finish at the rim. If they sag off a little bit, I can definitely hit the jumper. Just trying to be in a lot of pick and pop situations, pick and roll, get going toward the rim.

On his comfortability within the offense …

I feel comfortable with my pick and pop game, I’m confident enough to shoot it. I spent a lot of time with Tony Barbee just trying to get my shot where it needs to be, something I’m constantly improving every night. I put in the work and build confidence in it.

On playing at Rupp Arena with a limited number of fans …

“I think we’ll obviously have to make up (for the lack of fans) with our team energy. So, it’s going to be harder for us. We can’t feed off the crowd as much, so we’re just going to have to be locked in together as a team so we can give that extra energy that we would normally get from the crowd. But with this group of guys, honestly, that’ll be easy because we’re all just so excited to get out and play. We have a lot of energetic guys on this team, so I don’t really see a problem. I know it’s not going to be the same, but we’ve got to make do.”

On if he knows Hamidou Diallo, who played in the same AAU program as him, and whether he’s reached out to him …

“Honestly, I really didn’t know him. He played when I don’t even think I was with the organization yet when he was there. But, I definitely used to watch his highlight tapes and all of that stuff when he was in high school and playing with the New York friends and then I did see him come to Kentucky. I really don’t know him that well.”

On Diallo’s game …

“I mean, I think everybody sees the same thing. He’s a mega-athlete, especially in high school. He was dunking everything. He was getting wherever he wanted to and to just kind of see his game change has been cool.”

On what part of his game he’s focused on developing the most …

“Honestly, my jump shot. I’ve been in the gym countless hours trying to get my form better and just fix a whole bunch of little things that I have with my jump shot. I’m trying to extend my range some. It’s gotten way better and I can see that the work that I’ve been putting in is paying off. So, that’s probably one of the biggest things I’ve seen the change in my game and probably just some little stuff, little technical stuff. Just trying to read the ball when it comes off the rim and just trying to get to know my players, my teammates so I can kind of know where their misses are. Just stuff like that, little stuff.”

On what it was about Kentucky that attracted him to the program …

“Honestly, Coach Cal and being able to see what he’s been able to do with a whole bunch of guys. I mean, Kentucky is a great place and this atmosphere, obviously, due to COVID it might not be the same. But just the atmosphere of the fans and the coaching staff and just being able to see that Cal knows what he’s doing and knows what he’s talking about. I just felt like it was a good situation for me.”

On the opportunity to play with other elite players …

“I think I was one of the first ones to commit here (of his signing class). I think I was the third person to commit. I think BJ (Boston) and somebody else committed before me. But, I was kind of playing that role of trying to help get people to commit here. Honestly, Kentucky kind of sold itself. I didn’t really need any players to tell me anything because I knew what Coach Cal could do for all of us and that’s kind of why we all came here.”

On if he’s reached out to any of UK’s NBA alums for advice …

“I mean I haven’t reached out for any advice or anything. Obviously, their games–I watch a lot of highlights of all of those guys that were here and early in their NBA career. I can just see that most of them are ready right away when they go to the NBA. Kind of with Cal you kind of know what you’re going to get. It’s kind of the same every day. He’s going to hold you accountable. So, I think that’s what most people would say, that he’s going to hold you accountable no matter who you are and he’s going to hold you accountable. I think that’s probably the most advice that somebody can give us.”

On what he hopes to show at UK’s Pro Day …

“How active I am. Obviously, my athleticism. My jump shot. My ability to move my feet, rebound, block shots. All of that good stuff.”

On his interests before basketball …

“I really didn’t used to play basketball too much. The sports I used to play growing up a lot–I used to be on the swim team and I used to play baseball. That was earlier in my childhood. Then I stopped really doing anything. I used to play a lot of video games – like, all of the time. I never wanted to go outside. I was kind of just stuck in the house for hours at a time. I was playing video games with my friends all day.”

On what interested him about basketball …

“I’m not going to say that I never picked up a basketball. If my friends were like, ‘Let’s go to the court and shoot.’ I would be like, ‘All right, cool.’ I’m the tallest kid out there so I might be a little bit better than everybody else. One day my dad and my dad’s friend, he took me to see my – you can kind of say my mentor now – Pervis Ellison. It kind of started there. We did a little workout and I’ve kind of been working with him and in contact with him ever since to this day. So, that’s kind of what helped me get sparked and felt the love for the game.”


Article written by Jack Pilgrim

Follow me on Twitter: @JackPilgrimKSR