Get to know future Arizona Wildcat dual-sport athlete Lauren Ware

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Beau Leone | The Daily Wildcat

Arizona Women's Basketball shatters its previous attendance record of 8,400 by having over 10,000 fans come out to see the team play at McKale Center on Wednesday evening. 

An astonishing accomplishment for Arizona’s athletic program occurred earlier this month, as it landed the highly talented, multi-sport athlete Lauren Ware. Ware is a five-star basketball recruit, No. 22 overall in the country, according to ESPN, and is the No. 50 overall volleyball prospect in the country, according to Prep Volleyball’s Senior Aces.

There is something admirable to sports fans when it comes to athletes who not only possess the talent, but the dedication to play and excel at two sports. We’ve seen it with famous names such as Bo Jackson, Deion Sanders and Michael Jordan at the professional stage, but it has even occurred a couple times at the University of Arizona. The most notable of the selective group is Felicity Willis, who competed at basketball and softball from 1996 to 2000 before entering the WNBA.

“I know it’s going to be a challenge, but that’s why I chose Arizona,” Ware said. “They have the people and the resources there that is going to make it all possible and a little easier for me.”

With high expectations to prosper at both sports, Ware must put the work in, but her skill set is undeniable. The 6-foot-5 front court phenom has consistently showcased all-around skills on both ends of the court during her high school basketball career at Century High School in Bismarck, N.D.

Primarily playing center, she has proven that she is much more than a post-player who can finish near the basket. She has a signature mid-range fadeaway that is nearly impossible to contest at her height. Not only is she a great shooter, but she has complementary court vision when it comes to finding her open teammates, especially in transition.

Additionally, her ability to catch and shoot from long range, attack the basket and run the floor are unique abilities that make her a special player at her position. On the defensive end, she has the size to not only block shots and be a rim protector, but also the mobility to close out on the perimeter.  She is one of the few players in the country that has the versatility to guard any position on the floor at a high level.

“Although I knew it had to be her decision with regard to which college was the best overall fit for her, Arizona was number one in my book by far. I couldn’t be more pleased with her decision,” said Ware’s mother on her decision.

The combination of these skills and athleticism led her to stuff the stat sheet with 17.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.6 blocks and 2.1 assists per game last season. She not only was named North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year for the second consecutive season (2018, 2019), but led her team to a perfect 27-0 season and a state championship.

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Ware is the second-highest recruit in history to commit to UA women’s basketball and is also the first American-born player to commit at this point in the 2019 recruiting class, as she will be coming in with highly talented international players Mara Mote, Tara Manumaleuga, Sevval Gul and Birna Benonysdottir.

Being the highest volleyball recruit that has committed to Arizona since junior Paige Whipple, Ware is expected to be one of the main building blocks of the program for years to come. Ware’s size and athleticism helps her transition her skills to volleyball in a variety of ways, making her one of the most lethal middle hitters in the country.

She has shown the accuracy to spike the ball in open areas on the opposing side of the court, but with her force of velocity, she has been nearly as efficient spiking the ball directly at opponents.

Not only is it intimidating having to react to Ware on the defensive end, but offensively it takes a strenuous effort to score when she is at the net. Ware utilizes her height and wingspan to effortlessly deflect balls back onto the other side of the court, forcing opposing teams to strategically avoid hitting the ball in her vicinity or attempting to hit the ball over her, which is a demanding task to say the least.

Along with basketball, Ware’s talent and work ethic on the volleyball court all came together during her junior season, as she put on a display from every aspect of the game during the course of the season. She finished the season with 586 kills, 86 blocks, 187 digs and 48 aces. Ultimately, her team went on to have a 34-5 record, winning its third consecutive state title. This remarkable season earned Ware her third North Dakota Gatorade Player of the Year (first for volleyball).

“Besides her skill and size, she makes everyone around her better, especially due to her leadership quality that not a lot of kids her age have.” said Ware’s high school volleyball coach Jamie Zastoupil. “She leads by example and people want to follow her,” It is exciting to anticipate how she will help elevate the play of future teammates, hoping to collectively bring the first ever NCAA Women’s Volleyball National Championship to Tucson within the next few seasons. With Devyn Cross finishing her senior season, it would not be much of a surprise if Ware started right away.

As for the current situation with Ware, she will sit out her senior year of high school sports due to an ACL injury that she suffered in her left knee during a volleyball camp in late July. Although she has suffered a severe injury, according to the Bismarck Tribune, “Ware is pleased with the pace of her rehab.” Typically, it takes 6-9 months to return to full physical activity post-ACL surgery. 

With this timeline and the current status of Ware’s rehabilitation progress, it is safe to assume that Ware will be fully healthy and prepared for her freshman basketball and volleyball campaign at the UA next year.

Given that the basketball and volleyball season overlap in November, it will be interesting to see if Ware holds out on basketball activity until the volleyball season is officially over, or if she will be permitted and choose to participate in both sports’ activities simultaneously. 

There is a lot to consider when balancing two sports, especially after a severe injury, but if there is an athlete with the talent and fortitude to do so, it is Lauren Ware.As for the current situation with Ware, she will sit out her senior year of high school sports due to an ACL injury that she suffered in her left knee during a volleyball camp in late July. Although she has suffered a severe injury, according to the Bismarck Tribune, “Ware is pleased with the pace of her rehab.” Typically, it takes 6-9 months to return to full physical activity, post-ACL surgery. With this timeline and the current status of Ware’s rehabilitation progress, it is safe to assume that Ware will be fully healthy and prepared for her freshman basketball and volleyball campaign at the University of Arizona next year.

Given that the basketball and volleyball season overlap in November, it will be interesting to see if Ware holds out on basketball activity until the volleyball season is officially over, or if she will be permitted and choose to participate in both sports’ activities simultaneously. There is a lot to consider when balancing two sports, especially after a severe injury, but if there is an athlete with the talent and fortitude to do so, it is Lauren Ware.


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