With all hype and expectations that came with the Los Angeles Lakers selecting Lonzo Ball second overall in the 2017 Draft, and the impressive campaign Kyle Kuzma has put together thus far, Brandon Ingram has often flown under the radar.
The second-year forward has nonetheless made considerable strides since his rookie season, and that earned Ingram a selection to the Rising Stars Challenge for a second consecutive year. “I just try to take that in, continue to work and try to stay humble,” Ingram told LakersNation.com of being recognized as one of the league’s top young talents.
While he returns, Mtn Dew Kickstart is the new presenting sponsor of the Rising Stars game. They are partnering with players such as Ingram in effort to establish a yearlong program for the showcase event.
The Lakers also had Ball and Kuzma named to the U.S. Team roster, marking the second time in franchise history three players were picked to participate. Kobe Bryant, Derek Fisher and Travis Knight previously shared the honor in 1997.
“I think Magic and Rob have done a really good job of bringing guys in that are willing to work and try to make things happen,” Ingram said of the latest trio making a bit of history.
“Those are guys that have good attitudes and good character every time they come in to work. To have us three guys, is going to be really fun.”
Both capable of scoring with plenty of ease, Ingram’s and Kuzma’s biggest competition for MVP of the Rising Stars Game may be each other. “I’m going to definitely shoot enough shots to try and get MVP,” Ingram said. “Why not? Just go out there, play my game and have fun.”
During media availability after Friday morning’s practice session at the L.A. Convention Center, Kuzma said the advice he received from Ingram was to “shoot it every time.”
The U.S. Team is looking to match the number of wins the World rosters have amassed since the NBA switched from a rookies vs. sophomores model in 2015. “I’m a fan of both,” Ingram said of both formats of the event.
After playing Friday night, the 20-year-old plans to get some rest in before the Lakers resume their schedule on Feb. 23. But he also will be on hand Saturday night, and has a particular interest in the Slam Dunk Contest.
“Gotta go and support my guy,” Ingram said of Larry Nance Jr.
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