BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Indiana’s reshaped roster received a big boost his week.
Oregon’s Kel’el Ware announced his plans to transfer to IU.
He’ll join Ball State’s Payton Sparks in the Hoosiers’ frontcourt, which is losing All-American Trayce Jackson-Davis and fan favorite Race Thompson to graduation. Center Logan Duncomb entered the transfer portal, as did forward Jordan Geronimo.
Ware was a coveted transfer prospect. A top-ten recruit in the 2022 signing class, he played his freshman year at Oregon, where he averaged 6.6 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He started four games for the Ducks and averaged 15.8 minutes per game.
The 7-foot center has an impressive wingspan and a versatile skillset capable of stretching a defense. He is a threat from the three-point line, hitting 15 from range during his freshman season. He has room for improvement—he made only 27% of his three-pointers—but provides a stark contrast to Jackson-Davis, who ended his IU career without connecting from deep.
Ware has three years of NCAA eligibility remaining, but he may not be in Bloomington long. He’s widely considered an NBA prospect, and a solid year under coach Mike Woodson could be a springboard to the pros.
Ware played high school basketball in North Little Rock, Arkansas. He was a McDonald’s All-American who garnered interest from several programs, including Arkansas, Auburn, Illinois and Kansas, before choosing Oregon.
Ware hit double digits eight times for the Ducks, including a career-high 18 against the eventual NCAA champion UConn Huskies. He also scored 17 against Michigan State. Both games came during the Phil Knight Invitational.
Ware announced his IU commitment in a short video Monday night on Twitter.
He’ll join a revamped IU squad that saw the departures of Jackson-Davis, Thompson, Duncomb, Geronimo, Jalen Hood-Schifino and Tamar Bates. IU is still waiting to hear if veteran guard Xavier Johnson will get an additional year of eligibility via a medical hardship waiver.