My first time seeing Brandon Ingram play was during his sophomore year at Kinston H.S during the Eastern Regionals of the NCHSAA tournament, led by star Point Guard Josh Dawson.
Brandon was clearly the most intriguing prospect on the squad, as he was a 6’7 wing that could shoot the ball well with sneaky athleticism and loads of potential. After watching him play I wrote down a lot of words and notes about him but one main statement that was written really sticks out to me today, ‘’ the next Kevin Durant’’.
Little did I know that his off the court actions would resemble that of the humble superstar Kevin Durant just as much as his on the court play and even his slender frame. Kinston would go on to repeat as state champions and the following year would win again to make it 3 rings in 3 years for the young fella.
Well let’s fast forward to the summer prior to his senior season for Kinston HS, in July ECI in Jacksonville, NC takes place, which is an event for high school teams to attend and scrimmage against each other over a span of three days. Although the camp is great for teams there are many players who miss the camp to attend AAU events, especially the Division 1 prospects, however Ingram attended ECI with his teammates to try and get an early start on preparation for another state championship and to spend time with his squad.
Many times the higher a player is rated, the more of an ego that player will have, but this is definitely not the case for Ingram. Time and time again he has impressed me with his selfless attitude and the way he puts his teammates before himself, whether he’s diving on the floor for a loose ball, encouraging a teammate after they make a mistake, cheering for them while he is on the bench, or even keep a straight face when the announcer at Eastern Regionals calls you ‘‘The Slim Reaper’’ during introductions.
Simply put, Brandon does all the small things that you love for any player on your team to do but especially if it’s your star player, One moment during this season stood out to me above all the rest, Kinston had just suffered a loss to Goldsboro despite 31 Points from Brandon on the night.
After the game my twitter timeline was absolutely insane with everyone discussing what had just had happen, but Brandon only had six words to say ‘‘on the way to the gym’’. That type of attitude and work ethic helps us all to understand how this young man finished with 4 state championship rings and scholarships from basically every top college basketball program in the country. It shows that you don’t have to be a selfish superstar to be successful and that hard work and determination will pay off in the end. So to all the young athletes please remember that it’s not about me, it’s about we, put your team first, work hard, and everything else will fall into place.