Indiana’s Kel’el Ware Picked 15th Overall by Miami Heat in 2024 NBA Draft

BLOOMINGTON, INDIANA – OCTOBER 29: Indiana Hoosiers center Kel’el Ware (1) dunks against U Indy during an NCAA college basketball exhibition game on October 29, 2023 in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Jeremy Hogan/The Bloomingtonian)

Written from IU Athletics press release

BROOKLYN, N.Y. (June 26, 2024) — Former Indiana center Kel’el Ware was selected with the 15th pick by the Miami Heat in the 2024 NBA Draft.

Ware’s selection marks another milestone for Indiana University’s storied basketball program. The Hoosiers have now had 80 players drafted into the NBA, the second-most among current Big Ten Conference schools, trailing only UCLA with 125. Michigan ranks third with 76. Of these 80 players, 28 have been first-round picks.

This year’s draft also continues a trend for Indiana, with first-round selections in consecutive drafts for the first time since 2013 and 2014. In 2023, Jalen Hood-Schifino was chosen 17th overall by the Los Angeles Lakers. Previous back-to-back first-rounders include Victor Oladipo (second overall by Orlando) and Cody Zeller (fourth by Charlotte) in 2013, followed by Noah Vonleh (ninth by Charlotte) in 2014.

Kel’el Ware’s College Performance

Ware, an All-Big Ten Second Team selection, had an impressive season, averaging team highs in points (15.9 per game), rebounds (9.9), and blocked shots (1.9). He is one of only three Hoosiers in the last 25 seasons to average at least 15 points and 9 rebounds in a season, joining D.J. White and Trayce Jackson-Davis. Ware shot 58.6% from the floor and 42.5% from the 3-point line, and he recorded a team-best 15 double-doubles along with 19 multi-block games.

Coach Mike Woodson’s Comments

Indiana Men’s Basketball Head Coach Mike Woodson praised Ware’s readiness for the NBA, stating, “Kel’el is the prototypical big man in today’s NBA. He can block shots at the rim, hold up defensively in the pick-and-roll, and is a great lob threat on the other end of the floor. He impressed me with his ability to catch and shoot the basketball at a high level and that is what the next level is looking for. He is a quiet kid that goes about his business in a professional way. He handled the adversity thrown his way to start his college career and responded in a big way for our ball club this season. We are really excited to see the way his career plays out in Miami.”

Hoosiers’ First-Round Draft History

Indiana’s rich history in the NBA Draft includes several notable first-round picks. Here are some highlights:

  • First Overall: Walt Bellamy (Chicago, 1961), Kent Benson (Milwaukee, 1977)
  • Second Overall: Archie Dees (Cincinnati, 1958), Scott May (Chicago, 1976), Isiah Thomas (Detroit, 1981), Victor Oladipo (Orlando, 2013)
  • Fourth Overall: Cody Zeller (Charlotte, 2013)
  • Sixth Overall: Calbert Cheaney (Washington, 1993)
  • Seventh Overall: Quinn Buckner (Milwaukee, 1976), Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers, 2008)
  • Eighth Overall: Ward Williams (Fort Wayne, 1948)
  • Ninth Overall: Noah Vonleh (Charlotte, 2014)
  • 11th Overall: Bob Wilkerson (Seattle, 1976), Jared Jeffries (Washington, 2002)
  • 12th Overall: Mike Woodson (New York, 1980)
  • 14th Overall: Romeo Langford (Boston, 2019)
  • 15th Overall: Kel’el Ware (Miami, 2024)
  • 16th Overall: Alan Henderson (Atlanta, 1995), Kirk Haston (Charlotte, 2001)
  • 17th Overall: Steve Downing (Boston, 1973), Uwe Blab (Dallas, 1985), Greg Graham (Charlotte, 1993), Jalen Hood-Schifino (Los Angeles, 2023)
  • 18th Overall: Ray Tolbert (New Jersey, 1981)
  • 22nd Overall: Randy Wittman (Washington, 1983)
  • 23rd Overall: OG Anunoby (Toronto, 2017)
  • 27th Overall: Brian Evans (Orlando, 1995)
  • 29th Overall: D.J. White (Detroit, 2008)

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