For most athletes, freshman year is a time of learning how hard they need to work to become competitive in college athletics.
Others like Long Beach State men’s basketball point guard Casper Ware seem to already know what it takes.
In his first season, Ware has been a vital contributing factor as to why this upstart 49ers squad has found itself in first place in the Big West Conference.
Ware has been nothing short of phenomenal for the 49ers, starting in every game but one while posting 9.2 points per game and leading the team in assists (78).
But by no means has this floor general had it easy, habitually laboring in the gym for hours on end.
“You don’t get to this level at his size without a tremendous work ethic,” head coach Dan Monson said. “[Ware] has worked very hard to get here and now that he is here, he is working very hard to be a productive player.”
Ware can be found shooting countless jumpers or doing a series of about 12 different drills — before participating in the team’s practice immediately after.
“I come in the mornings with the coaches [about] 30 to 45 minutes before practice,” Ware said. “It is pretty much an everyday thing. I can’t even count [how many shots I take.]”
And this type of dedication has really impacted the way teammates view Ware, along with how they practice.
“[His work ethic makes us work harder] because he’s the starting point guard,” fellow freshman guard Larry Anderson said. “If he’s working hard, it makes us all feel like we have to work hard. He’s pushing us … he’s one of the leaders so we really listen to what he has to say.”
Ware’s astounding persistence to improve even seems to be rubbing off on some of the seniors.
“Donovan [Morris] has started coming up in the mornings,” Ware said. “We both work on our games trying to improve more and more during the season.”
With his own inner-fire driving him, along with his father Casper Ware Sr. — a former player himself — stressing the importance of hard work, Ware Jr. has learned what he needs to do to fulfill his maximum potential.
“It has been happening for a long time now,” Ware Jr. said. “Basically a lot of mornings me and my dad wake up [during the weekends] and go shoot; go work on my game.”
As imagined, waking up every day to practice (before team practice) can be an arduous process.
Luckily, with a supporting father guiding and fueling Ware Jr.’s motivation, he manages to continually invest time into his pre-practice workouts.
“It’s a little bit of both,” Ware Jr. said. “Sometimes when I’m lazy he makes me get up and go. Sometimes when I want to go, I tell him ‘let’s go’ — it’s 50-50.”
With such a determined attitude and desire to improve — along with supportive teammates and a father — it is no wonder why Ware Jr. has been a cut above the normal freshman athlete.