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“Playing hard”: Kel’el Ware dominant for Indiana against Harvard

Ware missed just one shot in a 28-point effort against Harvard.

Alex Paul

He missed just a single shot.

Leading Indiana with 28 points, Kel’el Ware flashed every bit of his NBA potential against Harvard in Gainbridge Fieldhouse. He left Mike Woodson impressed with his effort after an up-and-down two games in Gainbridge.

Against UConn, Woodson was left wanting more from his star sophomore center. He let him know as much after that game, telling Ware it didn’t look like he wanted any part of scoring in the paint.

Woodson said he saw a response against Louisville the next day when Ware finished with 12 points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes of play.

“We’ve just gotta keep him in a good place, playing hard,” Woodson said after the game. “Tonight he played really hard, it’s kind of nice to see a response.”

Ware found a few different ways of scoring too, be it catching lobs from teammates like Malik Reneau or Gabe Cupps, putbacks, hitting shots off the break, turnaround jumpers or even pulling up from deep.

He wasn’t limited at all, looking every bit the part of the modern five fans were hoping for out of the portal and NBA general managers move up draft boards.

There was a fire behind Ware’s play tonight, using footwork down low or beating his matchup over the top. His length came in handy hauling in rebounds and he roared to his teammates late in the second half after an and-1 bucket.

Ware mentioned working on boxing out in practice and being committed to staying in shape as a team as factors in the rebounding battle. Indiana hauled in 34 boards to Harvard’s 26.

On defense, Ware was his typically looming threat around the paint. He managed two blocks on the day and kept looking for opportunities to send the ball into the crowd or off the backboard.

Indiana is going to need every part of the Ware it got tonight for the upcoming stretch. The Hoosiers have a rough stretch of Maryland, Michigan, Auburn and Kansas. Bigs like Julian Reese and Hunter Dickinson to contend with.

The Hoosiers know Dickinson and his brand of defense quite well. They’ll need Ware to contend with him to have a shot against the Jayhawks at Assembly Hall.

If he keeps playing like this, that’s within reach.