11:26am: Ingram expounds on his decision via The Players’ Tribune.
10:56am: Duke small forward and potential No. 1 overall pick Brandon Ingram told Evan Daniels of Scout.com he’s entering this year’s draft, as expected. The freshman is hiring an agent, Daniels adds, so he won’t be eligible to return to school. The 6’9″ 18-year-old eclipsed LSU combo forward Ben Simmons for the top spot in Jonathan Givony’s DraftExpress rankings in the middle of last month while Chad Ford of ESPN.com still has Simmons No. 1 and Ingram No. 2.
Ingram’s shooting helps distinguish him from Simmons and others, as he nailed an impressive 41.0% of his looks from 3-point range on 5.4 attempts per game. Givony has also pointed to Ingram’s superior 7’3″ wingspan and 9’1.5″ standing reach, both of which manifested in his 6.8 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. Ingram put up 17.3 points per outing, but that wasn’t enough to lead his own team, as Grayson Allen, a fringe first-round prospect, poured in 21.6. Still, Ingram scored at least 20 on 14 occasions, including all three of Duke’s NCAA Tournament games. Ford points to Ingram’s passing ability as a plus, but that didn’t show up on the stat sheet, as he averaged 2.0 assists and an identical 2.0 turnovers per contest.
The native of Kinston, North Carolina was just fourth in the Recruiting Services Consensus Index coming into college last year, though an outlier rating of 14th from analyst Van Coleman contributed to that. Most of the rest of the rating services had him third behind Simmons and Kentucky big man Skal Labissiere, who ultimately proved a disappointment. Ingram nonetheless showed improvement to his overall game throughout the season and has a strong chance to join Kyrie Irving and Elton Brand as the school’s third top overall selection since the end of the territorial draft in the 1960s.