Can Kel'el Ware Become an Elite NBA Center?

Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball
Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball / Andy Lyons/GettyImages

There has been a lot of negativity tied to the Indiana University men's basketball team throughout the 2023-2024 season. Xavier Johnson has not been able to stay out of his own way. Mike Woodson has not been able to steer the ship steadily through rough waters. It took what seemed like ages for Mackenzie Mgbako to break free from the shackles that held him down early in the year. Overall, it just has not been the type of season that many envisioned for Indiana men's basketball.

Fortunately for the fanbase, there have been some silver linings amidst the sloppiness. Trey Galloway has emerged as a legitimate point guard. Malik Reneau has developed into one of the more well-rounded power forwards in the Big Ten. Last but not least, Kel'el Ware has grown into a no-brainer NBA center.

The question is not whether or not Ware will inevitably become an NBA center, but whether or not he will blossom into an elite NBA center.

Kel'el Ware
Kel'el Ware, Indiana Men's Basketball / Kirk Irwin/GettyImages

The 7-footer from Arkansas has the physical tools of a prototypical NBA big man. What he lacks in frame (roughly 240 pounds) he makes up for in length (whopping 7'7" wingspan). The slender center has the agility and athleticism to get up and down the court in a hurry, and despite his slim stature he is never afraid to tussle down low in the trenches.

If his physical attributes are not enough to persuade you of his elite caliber potential, his game should seal the deal. Ware is unicorn-like in that he can do a little bit of everything on the basketball floor, and he can do it all at a high level. Defensively, he controls the glass (9.7 RPG) and is a nightmare of an obstacle for opposing scorers to overcome. Plus, his length makes him a constant threat in the passing lanes. Look at how instinctly he makes the following steal look:

Are you freakin' kidding me?

Offensively, there are no major holes in his game.

He can finesse you in the post:

He can capably can triples (44.4% from outside on 1.3 attempts per game this season):

And if you try him, he is always more than happy to put you on SportsCenter's top 10 for the wrong reasons:

It almost seems like a lock that Kel'el Ware will depart for the NBA at the conclusion of the current college basketball season. Bleacher Report's latest 2024 mock draft from yesterday had him going to the Phoenix Suns with the 19th overall pick, which seems like a fair projection for the former 5-star McDonald's All-American. However, do not be shocked if Ware makes a lot of NBA general manager's regret passing on him.

Ware likely only has a few games left with Indiana, but you still have a chance to win betting on him and the Hoosiers thanks to Bet365. You'll get $150 in bonus bets if you sign up, deposit $10 or more and then bet $5 or more on Indiana vs. Michigan State. Sign up with Bet365 with this Hoosier State of Mind link today!