Boxing classes helped give Ware an edge mentally and physically | Sports

LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) — Lance Ware took a break from basketball last summer and tried his hand at boxing. More than the physical aspect, True wanted to improve his footspeed.

“That was definitely why I took those classes,” Ware said Monday. “Boxing is great for your footspeed, your agility. You use movements that you haven’t used in basketball, using muscles that you haven’t used. The first three times I went to the classes the next day I was super, super sore, like nothing I’d ever experienced. It’s an overall great workout.”

Ware was active in Kentucky’s 78-57 win over Florida last Saturday and finished with four points and grabbed seven rebounds in 14 minutes. He walked away from a possible scuffle after he got involved in a struggle for a ball with Florida’s Myreon Jones and smiled as Jones’ teammate Phlandrous Fleming intentionally bumped Ware in the back.

“It’s basketball, especially high-level games,” Ware said. “They’re trying to do anything to win. We’re doing anything to win and emotions get high. Stuff happens. But the main goal is to play basketball. If we wanted to be boxers then we would go box.”

On the court, Ware has been giving the Wildcats a lift and his teammates have called him “The Enforcer” a nickname Ware embraces.

“If that’s my role, to be the enforcer, then I’m going to do whatever it takes,” Ware said Monday. “If I can bring that into the game, and that’s what they need me to do, I have no problem doing any role. If my job is to be the enforcer, then yeah, I can do that.”

Kentucky assistant coach Bruiser Flint hasn’t been surprised by Ware’s recent emergence and said he exhibits the same energy in practice on a daily basis.

“He’s a hard-nosed, hard-playing kid,” Flint said. “That’s the bottom line. I don’t think it’s much different the way we practice. I mean, he’s a great kid off the floor. We have a lot of fun because we’re from the same area, so we talk about a lot of the same things. He battles in practice. You know, he brings that same toughness to practice and plays the same way in practice. So there’s no difference when he gets out there in the game.”

TENNESSEE SURGING

Kentucky may be facing a different team in Knoxville on Tuesday night than the one the Wildcats easily defeated 107-79 on Jan. 15 at Lexington.

The Volunteers have won seven of their past eight games since the double-digit loss to Kentucky, including seven consecutive conference victories.

“We just had a great game that night, but they would have the same type of team before we play them,” Flint said. “Now the personnel has changed a little bit. They probably bigger and more physical than they were in the first game, so we got to be prepared for that.”

Tennessee (18-6, 9-3) is ranked No. 16 in this week’s Top 25 poll and the Volunteers’ lone loss in the past month was a 52-51 loss to Texas in the Big 12-SEC Challenge on Jan. 29.

The Wildcats (23-4, 10-2) jumped from fifth to No. 4 in this week’s poll.

TSHIEBWE HONORED

Kentucky forward Oscar Tshiebwe was named Southeastern Conference Co-Player of the Week by the league office on Monday

He shared the honor with Auburn’s Walker Kessler. Tshiebwe averaged 22.5 points and 16.5 rebounds per game last week in Kentucky’s wins over South Carolina and Florida. He tallied 27 points and had 19 rebounds in the Wildcats’ win over the Gators.

Game tracker: Kentucky at Tennessee, 9 p.m., Tuesday. TV/Radio: ESPN, UK Radio Network.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at Keith.taylor@kentuckytodaycom and via Twitter at keithtaylor21

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