Indiana forward Kel’el Ware recently told ESPN’s Jonathan Givony that Mike Woodsen’s NBA pedigree played a prominent role in drawing him to Bloomington.

Ware spent his freshman season at Oregon, where things did not go as planned for the 5-star big man. He started 4 games early in the season — during which he averaged 31 minutes a night — but saw his role drastically reduced as time went on. In 14 appearances between January and February, Ware played just 9.6 minutes a night while averaging 3.9 points and 2.5 rebounds. He was the No. 7 overall recruit out of the 2022 class. Some thought he could make the jump to the NBA after a year in Eugene.

That proved too ambitious. Oregon’s coach questioned Ware’s effort at times throughout the year. Woodson will look to unlock what Oregon couldn’t.

For his part, Ware seems extra motivated heading into his second season.

Givony asked Ware what a successful season would mean for him during the 2023-24 campaign.

“Prove everybody wrong,” Ware responded.

About what?

“Everything people have been saying about me,” he said.

Ware averaged 6.6 points and 4.1 rebounds in 15.8 minutes a game as a freshman last season. He told Givony he’s working on expanding his 3-point shot. He made 15 of his 55 makes from beyond the arc last year (27%).

Indiana has a major hole to fill in the frontcourt after Trayce Jackson-Davis, and Ware looks like a player perfectly capable of stepping into his shoes as the roll man in Woodson’s offense. A jump in his game from a shooting standpoint would add another element to that screening action, letting him pop and knock down shots.