Duke freshman Brandon Ingram is almost universally considered one of the top-two prospects in the 2016 NBA Draft after averaging 17.3 points, 6.8 rebounds, and 41 percent shooting from behind the arc during his lone college season. While there have been some rumors of fellow top prospect Ben Simmons' camp attempting to navigate him to the Los Angeles Lakers instead of the Philadelphia 76ers, Ingram made it clear he wouldn't be doing any such maneuvering.
"It doesn't matter to me [which team selects me], any organization that can take me, that's where I want to be," Ingram said in a pre-draft interview with Draft Express. "I don't have a certain place that I want to go. Whatever team drafts me, that's it."
Ingram isn't resting on his laurels while waiting to find out which organization that will be. The Duke product is currently working out in New York and says he wants to improve "Every aspect of the game. Whether it's driving, shooting the ball, or being on the defensive end, trying to get deflections or blocking shots, said Ingram, before adding "and of course getting stronger."
That last area will have to be a priority for the lithe forward. Ingram weighs just 196 pounds despite towering over most average humans at 6'9, and adding at least some bulk will be necessary for him to succeed in the NBA. To Ingram's credit, he understands that and is already putting in the necessary hours to make it happen.
"Normally when I wake up it's straight to the gym," said Ingram. "Probably about 6:30 I'll get some shots up, probably run on the treadmill and then just wait for another workout. We work out at a gym about 10 or 20 minutes from where we live and we're in there for probably half of the day."
However, Ingram also acknowledges that building an NBA frame won't happen overnight.
"Of course that's one of my deficiencies going into the next level, but that's something that we know is going to take time, so we're doing what we can right now and we're going to continue to do what we've been doing," said Ingram.
Such work ethic already in part assuages any concern that Ingram isn't ready to labor like a professional, a common criticism of young players. Another such critique is that those same rookies lack maturity, but the 18-year old soon-to-be millionaire also seems to have a solid head on his shoulders and sounds thankful to his college coach, Mike Krzyzewski, for grooming him for the pro ranks.
"Probably accountability and responsibility, just taking responsibility for my own actions and probably just knowing that I'm always being watched," said Ingram when asked what he would take away from his time at Duke. "Just knowing that kids are looking up to me and trying to do the right thing at all times."
Ingram, who wasn't always such a highly touted prospect, also advises those kids watching him to continue to work hard and take advantage of their opportunities.
"Your time is coming, your time is always coming," Ingram advised any kids watching the interview. "Back [before he was so highly regarded as a player], I probably thought the same thing that they're thinking right now. I just took the process and knew that I could play with the top guys in the nation, and once you get that one opportunity you've got to go hard at it and keep building your confidence."
When tossed into the NBA shark tank as a skinny teenager next season, Ingram would do well to take his own advice, no matter who drafts him.
All quotes transcribed via Draft Express. You can follow this author on Twitter at @hmfaigen.