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Indiana basketball: Kel’el Ware, Mackenzie Mgbako listed on 2024 NBA Draft Top-50 Big Board



Kel'el Ware is ready to prove people wrong during his sophomore season with the Indiana basketball program. (Kel'el Ware / Indiana Athletics)

Mike Woodson and Indiana basketball saw some huge success earlier this summer when it came to Jalen Hood-Schifino and Trayce Jackson-Davis being drafted in the 2023 NBA Draft.

With the 2023-24 college season slowly getting closer and closer, NBA Draft experts are already putting together their big boards for the 2024 NBA Draft.

Indiana basketball could once again see more players reach the pro level after the conclusion of next season.

Newcomer Focus: Mackenzie Mgbako, Kel’el Ware

In the latest Bleacher Report 2024 NBA Draft Top-50 Big Board by Jonathan Wasserman, both sophomore center Kel’el Ware and freshman forward Makenzie Mgbako are listed as players that could see their names called on draft night.

Ware, who transferred to Indiana after spending his freshman year at Oregon, came in at No. 10 in the Bleacher Report draft board.

The former McDonald’s All-American came to Indiana looking to get the same development Mike Woodson gave to Trayce Jackson-Davis.

“Kel’el Ware has questions to answer, and a new roster, coach and role could help the sophomore reignite his draft stock,” said Wasserman.

“He won’t be playing behind veteran bigs with Indiana the way he did for Oregon. He’ll get Trayce Jackson-Davis’ touches, which should give Ware an opportunity to show off his post game, touch, shooting range, passing and IQ.”

Ware was ranked as the No. 7 overall prospect in the 2022 class and was the No. 3 center in the class but played sparingly at Oregon. He only averaged 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks in 15.8 minutes per game.

“At 7’1″, he’ll still add the most value with his finishing and rim protection,” Wasserman continued. “Ware can reach high points above the rim for lobs, putbacks and blocks. He has the mobility and length to be an excellent pick-and-roll defender. But based on high school tape and brief flashes last season, Ware clearly has more skill to offer, particularly with his shot-making around the key and potential to eventually stretch the floor from three.”

“His stock will take a hit if questions about his motor resurface under coach Mike Woodson.”

Mgbako, who was originally committed to Duke before re-opening his recruitment, comes to Indiana as the first freshman McDonald’s All-American since Romeo Langford (2018). He is ranked No. 30 on the big board.

Mgbako was a consensus five-star and ranked No. 8 by Rivals, No. 7 by 247Sports, No. 12 by On3, and No. 9 in the ESPN Top 100.

Playing for Roselle Catholic High School in Gladstone, New Jersey, he averaged 16.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game.

“Mgbako will have to sell teams on his combination of 6’8″ size and shot-making,” Wasserman said. “He lacks burst and versatility, so he won’t have much margin for error, but his positional tools and shooting remain interesting.”

If Indiana basketball head coach Mike Woodson can have the same success in developing both Ware and Mgbako this season as he did with Hood-Schifino and Jackson-Davis, you could easily see their names called on draft night next year.

SEE ALSO: Former Indiana basketball guard Yogi Ferrell expected to sign with Shanghai Sharks

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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.