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Indiana basketball center Kel’el Ware forgoes remaining eligibility and declares for NBA Draft



Indiana basketball
Indiana basketball center Kel'el Ware has declared for the NBA Draft and will forgo his remaining college eligibility.  (Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports)

Indiana basketball center Kel’el Ware has declared for the NBA Draft and will forgo his remaining college eligibility, he announced on Instagram on Tuesday morning.

Ware, who played just one year at Indiana, averaged 15.9 points, 9.9 rebounds, 1.5 assists and 1.9 blocks per game in 30 appearances this season. He started every game he appeared in and was an All-Big Ten Second Team selection.

Throughout the season, Ware was the most consistent and best player for Indiana basketball. He had 10 games with at least 20 points and five with at least 25 points.

He finished with 15 double-doubles and 16 games with double figure rebounds. Ware had zero double-digit rebounding games as a freshman. He also didn’t have a 20-point game last year.

His career high came this year, scoring 28 points against Harvard. He also tied that in the regular season finale against Michigan State.

Ware played his best basketball over the last month of the season when he averaged 18.2 points, while shooting 63 percent from the floor, 10.5 rebounds and 2.2 blocks per game in the final 13 games. He averaged 34 minutes per game over that span as well.

In Big Ten play alone, Ware averaged 16.9 points, 10.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks per game. He led the league in field goal percent at 63.2 percent shooting from the floor.

“All I can tell you guys after that first month, he’s been a totally different player,” Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson said of Ware earlier this month. “I got to give tribute to your coaching staff and how they work, and we pushed him and his teammates believe in him and I believe in him. He’s been phenomenal, been playing unbelievable, which is kind of nice to see.”

Ware finished this season ranked second in the Big Ten in rebounds per game, third in rebound percent, fourth in player efficiency rating, fifth in blocks per game, sixth in block percentage, eighth in total box plus/minus and 11th in offensive rating.

Indiana had two draftees in 2023, including first-rounder Jalen Hood-Schifino, and second-rounder Trayce Jackson-Davis.

Currently, Ware is projected as a mid-to-late first round selection in most mock drafts.

27 players in Indiana basketball program history have been selected in the first round.

Indiana basketball leads the Big Ten with 79 players (Michigan ranks second with 78) selected in the NBA Draft since the inception in 1947.

The NBA Combine will take place from May 12 to May 19 and will almost certainly include Ware.

The NBA Draft is on June 27.

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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.