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NBA Draft analyst reveals pro comparison for Indiana basketball center Kel’el Ware



Indiana basketball
Bleach Report NBA Draft analyst reveals pro comparison for Indiana basketball center Kel'el Ware in this latest mock draft. (Mandatory Credit: Dylan Widger-USA TODAY Sports)

Indiana basketball center Kel’el Ware is still seeing his name pop up on multiple NBA draft boards. The sophomore center is having a great season playing for Mike Woodson and the Hoosiers.

Ware has played for Indiana basketball in 13 games this season, all starts, after only missing one game due to COVID. In those 13 games, Ware has averaged a near double-double of 15.3 points and 9.0 rebounds. He is shooting an outstanding 56.9 percent from the field on 68-of-113 shooting. He is also averaging 1.5 blocks per game, as well.

He has taken a major leap in his sophomore year than where he was he freshman season at Oregon. Viewed as ‘one-and-done’ type of player, for whatever reason, he did not live up to those expectations. Last season saw him only average 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds, 0.5 assists and 1.3 blocks per game.

Due to the sophomore leap, Ware has popped up on many draft boards with the latest one coming from Bleacher Report’s NBA Draft analyst Jonathan Wasserman, who sees the big man going at the No. 22 spot to the New Orleans Pelicans, with a pro comparison to Cleveland Cavilers center and NBA All-Star Jarrett Allen.

“Kel’el Ware still falls away into tough jumpers or fades into the background too often for such an obvious talent. But the 7’0″ size, easy leaping and shotmaking skill have swayed scouts to look past the lapses in activity,” said Bleacher Report NBA Draft Analyst Jonathan Wasserman. “The 7-footer is averaging 14.6 points, using his outstanding finishing tools for lobs and putbacks while scoring on defenders in the post with his high release and touch.”

“Indiana doesn’t trust him much to space the floor as a spot-up or pick-and-pop shooter. But predraft workouts should represent another chance for Ware to showcase some hidden range.”

While Wasserman makes a good point about Ware being more in the paint more often than not, the big man has shown an ability to stretch the floor multiple times this season. It was an area in the front court that we had not seen from Mike Woodson’s two previous Indiana basketball teams but have seen more this season between both Kel’el Ware and Malik Reneau. With Ware, he us averaging 1.3 three-point shot attempts per game and is not afraid to display a jumper a little outside the paint.

Along with opening up his offense, Mike Woodson has been able to unlock more from Kel’el Ware than what Oregon was able to. He has once again showed his ability to development big men just as we saw with Trayce Jackson-Davis and currently with Kel’el Ware.

“Just pushing him,” Mike Woodson said last month. “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.”

Ware will continue to prove his NBA Draft worth as he and Indiana basketball host Ohio State in an important Big Ten matchup on Saturday night.

SEE ALSO: Coach Q&A: Mike Woodson previews Indiana basketball matchup with Ohio State

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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.