As Dustin Ware continues to go through summer workouts with the rest of his Georgia basketball teammates, he does so with a different sense of determination of purpose.
With Zach Swansey having transferred to Tennessee Tech, Ware is being handed the proverbial keys to head coach Mark Fox's offense as the unquestioned starter at point guard.
It's a challenge he's looking forward to meeting.
"The thing is to just make sure I'm getting myself prepared," he said. "I know that I'm going to have a lot of responsibility this year so I've been putting all the time I can this summer to make sure I'm ready."
Last year, the Powder Spring native started 17 of 32 games for Georgia last year, ranking third on the team in scoring with 7.4 points per game.
Even more impressively he became just the first Bulldog freshman to dish out 100 assists since Rashad Wright in 2001.
While Ware appreciates the success he was able to achieve, he knows he's still got a lot of work to do, particularly since he's now going to be running the show.
"I look at things that I can improve on. That's what I really used last year for, just a measuring stick to see what I can do better at and help my team more effectively," he said. "There were so many things at the end of last year where I told myself if I could just improve, it would make me that much better of a player. There's a long list of things I want to get better at and I'm working on it this summer. Hopefully everything will come around."
Ware said he's got 100 percent support from Fox.
"It's been good. He's bringing the right attitude, just keeping us focused on winning and playing good ball. That's all we really came here to do anyway, to win and be competitive. He's definitely installing that in us and preparing us to work and get ready for the upcoming year," he said. "From Day One, the first thing he said was we don't believe in rebuilding years or anything like that. We've got the talent to win here and that's definitely the plan. That's what everybody wanted to hear."
As for the inevitable comparisons between Fox and former coach Dennis Felton, Ware said there is one thing both have in common.
Both coaches believe in hard work, that much Ware admits is a given. There is, however, one big difference.
"Coach Fox lets us have fun as long as we take the responsibility for getting better," he said. "He's got a way of getting the best out of everybody. I think he's going to be a good coach for us."
Ware believes he'll be a good guard for the Bulldogs.
Although he's just a sophomore, Ware's confidence has grown immensely from this time a season ago when he was just trying to fit in.
He empathizes with youngsters like DeMario Mayfield and Vincent Williams, who are attempting to earn the respect of teammates through the various pickup and intrasquad games.
It's also the time when chemistry is built and bonds are formed.
"It's a very important time for all of us," Ware said. "We just want to make sure we stay in shape and when preseason comes around just continue to work."
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