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Indiana basketball: Who could be next in the NBA Draft?

Mike Woodson is probably sending more Hoosiers to the NBA soon.

Syndication: The Register Guard Ben Lonergan/The Register-Guard / USA TODAY NETWORK

The dust has hardly settled from the 2023 NBA Draft which featured Indiana men’s basketball’s Jalen Hood-Schifino heading to the Los Angeles Lakers and Trayce Jackson-Davis heading to the Golden State Warriors.

But scouting is a year-round process. NBA organizations and college programs have an eye on prospects as early as the first few years of high school. There’s already mock drafts across the internet for 2024.

Most of them feature Hoosiers too, namely center Kel’el Ware and forward Mackenzie Mgbako. Both have lottery potential as prospects and chose Mike Woodson to help get them there.

Ware joined Indiana as a transfer from Oregon after being seen as a likely first round pick in this year’s draft before a down season in Eugene considerably lowered his draft stock. He’ll be out to prove that wrong this season.

He was ranked as the No. 2 overall player in the transfer portal this offseason, second only to Kansas’ Hunter Dickinson. He was 247Sports’ No. 7 overall recruit in the class of 2022 and the No. 3 center.

The NBA interest in Ware lies in his versatility and talent as a 7-footer. He’s fluid with the ball in his hands and capable of scoring in the paint or hitting 3-pointers, the kind of talent Indiana just hasn’t really had before.

He’s an ideal modern big, and Mike Woodson made significant strides with Jackson-Davis over the past two years that resulted in an NBA Draft selection and consensus First Team All-America nods. Ware will look to take a jump with the Hoosiers with an eye on a future in the league.

Mgbako was previously committed to Duke, but decommitted following the return of Kyle Filipowski. He took visits to St. Johns, Kansas and Indiana before cancelling a fourth visit, to Louisville. He ultimately chose the Hoosiers over the Jayhawks.

Much like Ware, Mgbako was a five-star considered one of the best players in his class, ranked as the 247Sports composite’s No. 8 overall recruit in 2023. He has impressive size at 6-8 and is impressive as a shooter, creating for himself on the move or off the catch. He can pull up from just about anywhere on the floor.

He’s Indiana’s highest-rated recruit since Romeo Langford in 2018. He’ll look to develop for the next level under Woodson, who reportedly got help from NBA legend Carmelo Anthony during Mgbako’s recruitment. Anthony played for Woodson when the two were with the Knicks and has high praise for Indiana’s head coach.

It’s easy to see why the NBA would be interested in Ware and Mgbako. The two were McDonald’s All-Americans, a promotional game that routinely features future NBA talent with names such as Gradey Dick, Paolo Banchero, Cade Cunningham, Jalen Green, Trae Young and countless others being on past rosters.

Both will likely end up in the NBA at some point one way or another. It’s up to Indiana and Woodson to develop and win with them to put the two in the best position if they declare for 2024 or afterward.