After an impressive freshman year at Duke, forward Brandon Ingram decided to bypass the rest of his college career and go straight to the NBA level. The talent Ingram put on display under legendary head coach Mike Krzyzewski in one year as a Blue Devil was enough to skyrocket his value as a top draft choice. The Los Angeles Lakers ultimately selected him No. 2 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft.
Although Coach K had plenty to do with Ingram’s development, former NBA star and fellow Kinston, North Carolina native, Jerry Stackhouse, played a major role in Ingram becoming a professional basketball player.
Ingram gives Stackhouse a lot of credit for helping him prepare for both his time at Duke and playing on the NBA level, via Mark Medina of the OC Register:
“It really got me prepared for college. It got me prepared for the level I am at right now,” Ingram said. “We definitely worked hard every single day.”
Ingram played on Stackhouse’s AAU team before becoming a star at Duke. The Lakers forward soaked up the knowledge from Stackhouse and in the routines and sets learned while playing for the AAU squad.
The lanky forward from Kinston was considered among the most NBA-ready players in this year’s draft along with Ben Simmons and Kris Dunn. Ingram displayed a maturity in college while showing a skill set that could make him a star on the next level.
Although Ingram’s skinny frame has caused some concern about his long-term future and whether he’d be able to deal with the physicality of the league, Stackhouse warns the doubters to take notice once he fills out, via Medina:
“Players can do all the strength they need from probably a couple of (resistance) bands. But he’s going to naturally put that on,” Stackhouse said. “From the eating standpoint, (teams) were (recommending) a lot of things with his nutrition. But at the end of the day, let nature take its course. Once he does that, watch out.”
At this point in his rookie season with the Lakers, Ingram has had his ups and downs as a member of a talented second unit in Los Angeles. The 19-year-old has been improving on a nightly basis as he figures out how to play in this league and could be a star in the making.
Ingram has played in all 20 games for the Lakers thus far averaging 7.7 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.8 assists per game. Although he’s yet to have a breakout game offensively with his career-high being 16 points, the Duke product has been a force defensively and has earned praise from the coaching staff for his impact through the first 20 games of the season.