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Indiana basketball center Kel’el Ware ‘flashing significant upside’ according to NBA Draft analyst



Indiana basketball
According to one NBA Draft analyst, Indiana basketball sophomore center Kel'el Ware is 'flashing significant upside.' (Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports)

The buzz around Indiana basketball sophomore center Kel’el Ware is starting to ramp up little by little as December college basketball gets deep into the weeds. The national media, NBA draft analysts, the college basketball fanbase are starting to take notice on what the 7-foot center has done just in his short time in Bloomington.

Just last week, Ware was listed just outside of the lottery going No. 22 to the Houston Rockets. For a player that was projected to be a ‘one-and-done’ player heading into his freshman season at Oregon, seeing Ware listed in first-round projections for the 2024 NBA Draft is a major step in the progression Mike Woodson has helped him achieve thus far.

“Just pushing him,” said Mike Woodson last week when speaking to the media. “I mean, again, I’m not knocking where he’s been, the coaches that coached him, but I coach a different way. You know, I mean, that’s not even knowing how the other coaches coach when they’re in practice. You have to come to practice with energy. You have to play hard. That was a knock on him. He is starting to figure that part of it out. So far this young season he’s been playing well for us.”

The national media and draft experts have seen a completely different type of player than what Ware was last season at Oregon. While he is still showcasing his versatility as a player on both ends, the big difference is that he is showing much more of an engaged motor while also playing his tail off for the most part when he is on the floor for Indiana basketball.

ESPN NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Givony is one of the experts to see the improvement that Kel’el Ware from his freshman to sophomore season.

“Kel’el Ware is having a productive season, as few opponents can match his sheer talent in terms of size, length, mobility, finishing touch, shooting range, rebounding and shot-blocking prowess,” said Jonathan Givony. “He’s added bulk, is playing harder, and is flashing significant upside on both ends.”

Ware has been without question the most consistent player on the Indiana basketball roster this year so far. In seven games this season for the Hoosiers, the big man is averaging a near double-double of 17.7 points and 9.6 rebounds while shooting a fantastic 64.4% (47-of-73) including 55.6% (5-of-9) from three — which leads the entire Indiana basketball team.

If Ware continues this upwards trend of the way he is playing, not only with Indiana continue to benefit from it, but his draft stock will as well.

SEE ALSO: ‘If you don’t come and meet the challenge, you’ll be exposed’: Indiana basketball asserts itself in Big Ten opening win

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Kyler Staley is a Basketball Recruiting Analyst for Hoosier Illustrated, a comprehensive site covering news, updates and recruiting for Indiana University athletics. Kyler has been in the basketball recruiting industry since 2019 and is a credentialed media member. He has covered Indiana since 2021 while continuing to also work for Prep Hoops Indiana. He has previously worked for Rivals.