Choosing the 2018-2019 Catoosa County Boys’ Basketball Player of the Year was a difficult decision with several outstanding players deserving of the honor.
And while a number of standout players stepped up big for their teams, LFO’s Ruddy Ware stood out.
After a junior season that saw Ware average over 15 points a game to earn All-Region first team honors in 6-AAA, Ware had to take on an even bigger role this past season and did just that.
He dropped in a career-best 20.2 points a night, while leading the Warriors from the backcourt. His speed and athletic gifts also allowed him to collect 3.4 rebounds, 2.1 assists and 2.2 steals a night to pick up first team All-Region honors yet again.
“It’s a real honor because of all the hard work,” Ware said. “I know our season didn’t go exactly how I wanted it to go, but I just tried to stay with it and do the best I could.”
Ware was already in the midst of a solid season when LFO lost athletic junior Jacob King — a second team All-Region selection — for the season. That was when Ware realized he would have to be one to help take up the slack.
He responded with games of 25, 32 and 32 as LFO went 2-1 at a Christmas tournament at North Murray to kick-start the rest of his senior season. He averaged more than 21 points a game in that span with six games of over 20 points, including a big 28-point explosion in a huge region win over Coahulla Creek. The Warriors also reeled off six consecutive wins to help them earn a top four seed in the 6-AAA tournament.
“When we lost Jacob, I knew I was going to have to do a lot more for the team,” Ware explained. “He was averaging about 10 points a game (to go with nearly nine rebounds a night) and I knew that was 10 points we weren’t going to have. (Jacob) is such an athletic dude and hustles on defense and grabs offensive rebounds, so I had to go into a different mentality. I knew I had to do more and that’s what I did. I knew I had to step up for my team.”
Ware hopes to continue his playing career in college and while he said he doesn’t have any offers just yet, he said he is doing what he can to try to attract the attention of college scouts.
“I’ve been going to a lot of camps,” he added. “Hopefully, I’ll get a college offer and be able to continue my basketball career.”