By LARRY VAUGHT
Having four-star power forward Lance Ware pick Kentucky was really not a surprise because it had seemed to be coming for weeks before he verbally committed Thursday.
Ware had made it clear he liked everything about Kentucky coach John Calipari and the Cats and fans/media at Michigan, Ohio State, Providence and Miami had all but conceded he would pick the more high profile Cats Thursday.
The 6-9 forward is a top 35 prospect in the 2020 recruiting class and No. 5 power forward.
The Camden, N.J., star gives Calipari three commitments already in the 2020 class as he joins five-star guard BJ Boston Jr. and four-star forward Cam’Ron Fletcher, another top 40 player.
Already that is enough for some recruiting services to have Kentucky in a familiar spot — No. 1 in the 2020 recruiting rankings.
Don’t forget, too, that on Saturday guard Terrence Clarke is expected to pick Kentucky — Memphis even called off an in-home visit. Clarke currently is in the 2021 class but is expected to reclassify to the 2020 class and could give Calipari his first top five player in several years.
Ware’s commitment, though, is important for Kentucky because it gives Calipari a needed big man, something he has missed in recent recruiting classes, for next season when he might have no more than one returning big or maybe none.
Ware did visit UK for Big Blue Madness in 2018 but he did not even take an official visit this year to Kentucky after getting his scholarship offer in late July. Kentucky re-emphasized how important he was when Calipari and assistant Kenny Payne visited him the first day of the recruiting period earlier this week.
Calipari is trying to cast a wide net to bring in bigs. Recently five-star forward Isaiah Jackson — a player many tell me could opt to play overseas next year — visited campus. Calipari has also offered five-star forwards Greg Brown and Isaiah Todd along with four-star center Cliff Omoruyi.