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A look at where Indiana basketball players land in early 2024 NBA mock drafts



Taking a look at where Indiana basketball players Kel'el Ware and Mackenzie Mgbako are projected in early 2024 NBA mock drafts.

Just days after the 2023 NBA Draft was complete, NBA analysts wasted no time by releasing their early 2024 mock drafts. Fresh off of a successful 2023 draft for the Indiana basketball program, 2024 has the early potential to be its most successful draft since 2013.

Indiana had two players drafted this year, the first time since 2017. Jalen Hood-Schifino landed just outside the lottery, picked at No. 17 overall. Trayce Jackson-Davis slid to No. 57 overall but received a guaranteed contract and is expected to be on the Warriors full roster.

But, with the talented roster that IU head coach Mike Woodson put together heading into the 2023-24 season, the expectation is there will be legit NBA talent on the floor at numerous positions for the first time in a while in Bloomington.

Most notably, two five-star talents in Mackenzie Mgbako and Kel’el Ware. The 2023-24 season will be the first time Indiana will have two McDonald’s All-Americans on its roster since 2016.

Both players are now expected to play major roles on this IU team — and potentially be off to the NBA next year.

And, both players are in the lottery in the first Bleacher Report 2024 mock draft.

Ware is ranked No. 13 by Jonathan Wasserman.

He was a projected lottery pick coming into his freshman season but struggled with consistency and fit at Oregon. He now arrives at Indiana looking to build his stock back to what it was. The raw talent is clearly there, however.

“Ware was quick to announce a return to college, presumably knowing he could showcase more to his game with a new program. He’ll now be a featured big at Indiana with Trayce Jackson-Davis NBA-bound,” Wasserman wrote. “Coach Mike Woodson figures to run more post-ups and pick-and-pops for the skilled 7-footer with a high skill level and shooting touch. Ware’s finishing and shot-blocking tools are obvious draws, but he’s a potential 2024 lottery pick thanks to his shooting range and IQ at both ends.”

More: Kel’el Ware ready to make big impact for Indiana basketball: ‘(I’m ready) to prove everybody wrong’

Ware averaged 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game last year. He was ranked No. 7 overall in the 2022 247Sports Composite Rankings and the No. 2 overall transfer this offseason.

“Kel’el is an extremely gifted player who will bring a lot to our program,” Woodson said. “He is a tremendous athlete whose skill level in all facets of the game will make us better. He’s a rim protector with great size and length, he runs the floor so well, he can shoot and he’s someone who competed and won at a high level in high school.”

For Mgbako, the five-star wing committed to Indiana basketball after re-opening his recruitment and getting a release from his NLI from Duke. He is ranked No. 14 by Wasserman — the final pick in the lottery.

“Mgbako showed out at April’s Nike Hoop Summit, scoring 22 points and showcasing his impressive defensive tools,” Wasserman said. “Though not an explosive athlete, the combination of 6’8″ size, shooting confidence, scoring instincts and the ability to guard wings will be very attractive to NBA teams.”

Mgbako is ranked as the No. 8 overall player in the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

He averaged 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds as a senior at Roselle Catholic (NJ).

“He has the chance to have an immediate impact on our program. He’s a tremendous offensive player who gives us athleticism, length and the ability to be an inside/out threat,” Woodson said. “He can beat people off the dribble, rebound, run the floor and guard multiple positions. Like most freshmen, he will benefit greatly from time in the weight room.”

In ESPN’s mock draft, Ware is slotted at No. 11 while Mgbako is No. 31 overall.

SEE ALSO: Indiana basketball recruiting beginning to click on all cylinders: ‘I wanted to be able to sit at the table with the best players’

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Alec Lasley is the owner of Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Alec has covered Indiana for six years and is a credentialed media member. He has previously worked for both Rivals and 247Sports.