Brandon Ingram picks Duke

Updated: April 28, 2015
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In a matter of three weeks, the Duke Blue Devils won the 2015 National Championship, saw coveted freshmen Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow declare for the NBA Draft and then doubled their incoming freshman class from three to six.

The culmination of those three weeks was complete on Monday when five-star All-American Brandon Ingram announced that he would be attending Duke University. Ingram made the announcement at 6:10 p.m. in the gym at Kinston High School.

While other major programs like Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina State all appeared to still be in the running, the decision, many believe, came down to Duke and rival North Carolina. UNC had been recruiting Ingram for his entire career and he played AAU basketball for Tar Heel great Jerry Stackhouse, also a Kinston grad. However, Ingram seemed to be falling out of love with the North Carolina program as of late, likely due to possible sanctions forthcoming for their academic fraud scandals, notably in the mens basketball program.

Ingram became the third member of this year’s McDonald’s All-American class to join the Blue Devils, joining early signees Chase Jeter and Luke Kennard. Ingram noted during an in-game, on-air interview during the McDonald’s game that Jeter and Kennard were recruiting him the hardest of any of his fellow All-Americans. Jeter and Kennard had been working hard since their announcements to add more talent to the pool in Durham.

At 6-foot-9, 195 pounds, Ingram will give Duke versatility as a point-forward and will be able to play most of the spots on the floor when needed. Ingram averaged 24.3 points, 10.4 rebounds and three blocks per game as a senior.

After Jones became the last of the Duke freshmen to declare for the NBA Draft, Duke’s focus became on a point guard, but the team never slowed their pursuit of Ingram. In the final week of recruiting for anyone with Ingram, Duke had the first and second-to-last in-home visits with the stretch forward, giving Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski a big chance to make a final lasting impression.

Helping their case too was the recent signing of Derryck Thornton, a five-star point guard from the 2016 class that Duke assistants Jeff Capel and Jon Scheyer convinced to reclassify. Thornton’s signing helped balance the Duke lineup, Ingram just gave it more firepower.

Duke has also signed five-star center Antonio Vrankovic and preferred walk-on Justin Robinson, the son of legendary San Antonio Spurs player David Robinson. After Duke finished their 2014-15 campaign with just eight scholarship players, the signing of Ingram puts them at 10 under scholarship as they attempt to win back-to-back titles in 2015-16.

Photo cred: Photo of Chase Jeter (green) and Brandon Ingram (blue) by The Associated Press

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