Kevin Ware showing major improvement

TAMPA, Fla. - Sophomore guard Kevin Ware is starting to become a key role player for the University of Louisville men's basketball team. Cardinal Authority has a story on Ware's position change and his recent improvement.

Kevin Ware learned his lesson.

After a one-game suspension on Jan. 28 against Pittsburgh for a violation of team rules, the University of Louisville sophomore guard has come on strong.

The 6-foot-4 Ware was switched to the point guard position by U of L coach Rick Pitino and has become a key role player for the Cardinals.

"He's really improved," Pitino said.

Added Ware: "A lot of things really motivated me. Some things happened and I just decided I had to get back to myself. At this point, I just have to work hard and play basketball. I'm just trying to be the best player I can be."

And that's been pretty solid in recent games.

In the five games since his suspension, Ware has seen his role on the team increase. He played 21 minutes on Sunday against South Florida and finished with seven points, three rebounds and one assist.

"Coach P is gaining more confidence in me and I think that's making me more confident," Ware said. "I am just trying to do whatever I have to do in order to help this team win, if it's offensively or defensively."

Ware, who missed part of his freshman season after signing late and then having to get cleared by the NCAA, is averaging 3.9 points in just under 17 minutes a game.

In the five games since his return, Ware has 24 points and seven assists. He played a season-high 32 minutes in the five-overtime game at Notre Dame.

"It's noticeable that he's more confident and becoming more aggressive in practice," sophomore Wayne Blackshear said. "He's really become a better player, a good overall player for us."

Pitino said he recently moved Ware from the two-guard position to the point guard spot partly because he wanted Russ Smith to only focus on the two-guard and he needed a backup point. Ware said the move "has been great," for him.

"He's fine with it and he's done a good job with it," Pitino said.

Added Smith: "Nobody really knows just how good he is. He's young and he's being patient and learning but he's getting better and better. He can be one of the more explosive players in the country."

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