With the college basketball season winding down and the NBA playoffs coming to a start, it is that time of the year again where college players declare that they will be going pro the following season. Some players entering are shocking, while some are expected. Duke’s Brandon Ingram was expected.
“My time is almost over here in Durham. Today as I declare for the NBA Draft, I’m both excited and sad about this moment.”
“On one hand, one year at Duke isn’t a very long time. I know that. But I’ve done a lot of growing, and growing up, in that time. I know by leaving I’ll miss out on a lot of friendships and opportunities. I’ll really miss all the students who showed me so much love.”
While it sounds like he’ll miss playing at Duke, leaving now is good timing for him, as he is expected to be draft in the top 5 (maybe even top 2). While no news is coming out yet that he is hiring an agent, it looks like Ingram will be sticking with the draft come June, with the new rule that underclassmen can withdraw their name after the combine if they do not hire an agent.
Ingram, 18, averaged 17.3 points per game in his lone season with the Duke Blue Devils. He was the ACC freshman of the year. He is projected to be the 2nd overall pick this year according to ESPN Chad Ford’s latest mock draft.
Ingram joins a list of Duke freshman that declared for the draft, most recently Jahlil Okafor (3rd), Justise Winslow (10th) and Tyus Jones (24th) who were all drafted in the first round last year. He will mostly be the ninth Duke player drafted in the first round after one year in college (the three guys mentioned above) along with Jabari Parker (2nd in 2014), Austin Rivers (10th in 2012), Kyrie Irving (1st in 2011), Luol Deng (7th in 2004) and Corey Maggette (13th in 1999).
Ingram has drawn comparisons to former Texas Longhorn Kevin Durant with his similar build and ability to score. While everyone is raving over potential #1 overall selection Ben Simmons, Brandon Ingram is not a bad second option in my opinion. If he adds some more muscle to his frame and improves his defense, he can be a nice building block to any franchise that drafts him.