Brandon Ingram, much like the fans of whichever team drafts him, seems desperately ready for the NBA draft -- now just eight days away. He took a tour of the morning ESPN circuit and spoke about what lies ahead for him and his budding NBA career.
The overriding message: He's ready. Regardless of where he winds up, he wants to leave his mark and learn from those throughout the league.
First, he appeared on ESPN First Take, where he was asked more inflammatory questions (because of course), starting with his impression of Ben Simmons. Skip Bayless tried to trap Ingram with a question about the player popularly slated to go first overall, but Ingram wasn't going to create any headlines there. He showed nothing but respect, calling Simmons a double-double type player with incredible passing ability. Passed that first test.
Then, the conversation shifted back to Ingram's game. Bayless brings up his shooting in college. Ingram wasn't content with just that reputation, however, saying he wants to be seen as an overall scorer, not just a shooter. To this point, there are plenty of highlights of Ingram putting the ball on the floor and exploding toward the rim. The athleticism and strength in the NBA will obviously make this tougher, but Ingram wants everyone to know he's ready for the challenge.
Bayless then asked about how Ingram would handle being drafted second. More specifically, would he set out to prove the world wrong about him not being drafted first? Ingram's response was pretty concise:
"Most definitely. Me being a competitor I think that's very important in my eyes, to not just go at him but go at every player in the league and try to learn from different players that's already been there."
(Note: Brandon Ingram is incredibly soft-spoken. I wouldn't say in a shy way; more that he tries to get the most out of every word he utters.)
Ingram looked considerably more comfortable in his appearance on SportsCenter, even with his mic cutting out before the interview started. This was unfortunate, as he was asked what the Lakers offer as a situation.
When his mic was working, Ingram was asked about the chance to go first and join another former Duke Blue Devil.
On going first: "It would be great to play with (Jahlil Okafor)." Says he would’ve loved to have played with him at Duke.— Anthony F. Irwin (@AnthonyIrwinLA) June 15, 2016
The next tidbit came when asked about what it might take to succeed physically in the NBA. This was an eye opener.
Just trying to eat the right things and stay in the weight room. I know my weight's going to come naturally, but I'm trying to do everything I can to get my weight up and get stronger in each and every way he can.
Do doctors think he's still growing?
Most definitely. I'm grown two inches every year since my freshman year, so I think I'm still growing.
Ingram would go on to say that he's most concerned about the wear and tear of the grueling NBA schedule and that he plans on looking to veterans to see how they've handled it in their experience, but enough about that. Brandon Ingram, who already looks like he's been stretched like Laffy Taffy, says he might continue to get longer. That's insane.
The downside to this is that such growth might hamper his ability to but more muscle on an already thin frame, but let Jay Bilas tell you, wingspan is vital in the NBA, and it's about making the rest of one's body work at that level.
Ingram is an impressive kid and whichever team drafts him will be thrilled to do so. He's ready to grow into any role, both figuratively and literally.
All quotes were directly transcribed from interviews Wednesday morning on "ESPN First Take" and "SportsCenter".
You can follow the author of this article at @AnthonyIrwinLA.