5 - 1
5 = Gabe Cupps
If you had never seen him play, there is no way you would guess that Gabe Cupps is a true freshman. He rarely looks to score, but that does not mean he cannot as evidenced by his 40.9% success rate from downtown. Gabe's defensive grit is what gets him on the floor, and his ability to efficiently hit shots and get the team into their sets offensively keeps him on the court.
4 = Trey Galloway
Galloway might not have taken the scoring leap many had hoped for this season, but his playmaking ability has unquestionably improved. Through the trials and tribulations of the Xavier Johnson experience in 2023-2024, it has been pleasant to see at least one of the senior captains continuing to grow.
3 = Mackenzie Mgbako
Mgbako has grown a little more with every month that passes by, and officially looks comfortable out there. However, the team could use a little bit more from him on both ends of the floor. With so much skill offensively, it is puzzling that he is yet to register a 20-point scoring night. And with so many physical gifts (6'8", 220 pounds with a 6'10" wingspan), it is a shame to see him being targeted so frequently on the defensive end.
It has been nice to see his progression, but it would be even nicer to see his explosion.
2 = Malik Reneau
Last time around, Malik Reneau claimed the crown at the top of this list. The lumbering lefty was a one man wrecking crew throughout the latter half of December and most of January, and overall has been humongous for Mike Woodson during his sophomore season. There is a strong argument to be made for him taking home the top spot once again, but......
1 = Kel'el Ware
Kel'el Ware is Indiana's best NBA draft prospect, and the agile 7-footer was on another level in the team's last two games. He had a double-double in both of those games (24 PPG and 10.5 RPG) and swatted 4 combined shots as he continues to build his case as an NBA-ready rim protector.
Indiana clearly missed their starting center against Wisconsin and Illinois, and he made his presence known during his return against Iowa: