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story.lead_photo.caption Fort Smith Northside guard Garrett Keller (left) drives against North Little Rock center Kelel Ware during a game Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in North Little Rock. - Photo by Justin Cunningham

North Little Rock junior big man Kel’el Ware continues to be a hot commodity as Kansas was the latest to offer on Sunday.

Ware, 6-11, 210 pounds, has also added recent offers from Tulsa, Arkansas-Pine Bluff, Illinois, Texas Tech, TCU and Central Arkansas in the past two months. He previously held offers from Arkansas, Texas A&M, Virginia Tech, Alcorn State and Oral Roberts.

The offer from the Jayhawks came after a strong weekend performance at the Super 16 Showcase in Cape Girardeau, Mo., while playing for All Arkansas Red.

“They said that I have a strong upside and I was able to score anywhere on the court,” Ware said of Kansas.

He finished with 12 points and 8 rebounds in the first game of the event then added 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 18 points and 12 rebounds in the last two games.

“This weekend I played around the perimeter and on the inside. I played where I was needed and I was able to provide points no matter what play it was,” Ware said.

Ware was named to the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette Underclassman team along with being named 6A All-Conference and All-State.

His recruitment took off after North Little Rock coach Johnny Rice urged him to play with an improved motor during the early part of last season.

“When he told me to play more aggressive, I started using my body more and bumping people as I post up,” Ware said.

Since the talk with Rice, Ware has added 10 offers, including ones from Arkansas, Kansas and other programs.

“It changed my game a lot,” Ware said. “I went from not trying to, like, touch anybody to actually getting stronger and getting into people and absorbing contact.”

June 15 was the first day college coaches could make direct contact with 2022 prospects. Ware said he communicates with Arkansas coach Eric Musselman and assistant coach Corey Williams 2-3 times per week.

“They send me things the Hogs have in the facility, but when we talk they ask how I’m doing,” said Ware, who visited the Hogs for the Kentucky game in Fayetteville. “They’re active and energetic.”

Seeing his hard work pay off in the form of offers is rewarding for Ware.

“It’s a dream come true," he said. "I have worked hard for everything I've got."

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