Arizona was a double-winner Saturday afternoon in the Lauren Ware sweepstakes
Ware, a five-star recruit, verbally committed to play both basketball and volleyball at UA starting in 2020, giving both programs a potential impact player.
Ware's announcement was broadcast on Instagram Live from the Century High School gym in Bismarck, North Dakota. Ware first thanked her teammates and all the schools that recruited her. Then she unzipped her black jacket she was wearing and unveiled a red Arizona t-shirt. She later posted to Twitter that she was "110% committed."
The 6-foot-5-inch Ware is considered a big "get" for both UA programs. In basketball she is a five-star prospect who is ranked No. 4 at her position and No. 30 overall in her class by ESPN. She is plays middle blocker in volleyball.
Ware took an official visit to UA in late July.
Not long after, she tore the ACL in her left knee at a volleyball camp, an injury that will end her high school careers in both sports. Ware was hoping to improve off a stellar junior season, one in which she put up 586 kills, 187 digs, 86 blocks and 48 aces in volleyball and averaged 17.3 points, 11.1 rebounds, 4.6 blocks and 2.1 assists per game in basketball.
She has been named North Dakota's state Player of the Year three times — twice in basketball and once in volleyball. Last year’s basketball team went 27-0 and the volleyball team went 34-5; both teams won state championships.
It is not known yet how Ware plans to split her time in college, as the volleyball and basketball season overlap. The most likely scenario is that she plays volleyball for the full fall season and moves over to basketball in December. Which team she trains with in the off-season has yet to be determined.
Playing two sports is rare, but it has happened a few times at Arizona.
Felecity Willis played both basketball and softball, taking part in the Women’s College World Series twice. In her senior year, she focused solely on basketball.
“It was really tough because I spent the majority of the year playing basketball and by the time I got out to the softball field conference play was around the corner," Willis told the Star last year. "I had to work 100 times harder than everyone else, and if I had to do it all over again I would do the same.”
Heidi Bomberger Bruschi played both volleyball and softball as a UA junior.
The volleyball-basketball combination is even rarer. The WNBA’s Elena Della Donne played volleyball when she transferred from UConn to Delaware, but then switched to basketball and didn’t play both sports in one season. From 1990-94, UCLA’s Natalie Williams was elite in both sports as a consensus All-American. She went on to star on the United States’ 2000 Olympic basketball team.
Ware joins Derin Erdogan, a point guard from Turkey, in UA women's basketball coach Adia Barnes’ 2020 recruiting class. The Wildcats are also finalists for five-star prospect Anaya Boyd.
Arizona's 2020 recruiting in volleyball includes two other players, Emery Herman and Shelby O’Neal.
National signing day is Nov. 13.