Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski alluded to it at times throughout the season, but Brandon Ingram made it official Monday—the Blue Devil standout will not be returning for his sophomore campaign.
Ingram declared for the NBA draft Monday, forgoing his remaining three years of eligibility and becoming the sixth Duke player in the past five years to leave Durham after his freshman season.
Ingram made his announcement in a piece published on The Player's Tribune titled "Farewell Duke."
The ACC Freshman of the Year, Ingram averaged 17.3 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and was the Blue Devils’ most consistent scorer in the NCAA tournament, averaging 23.0 points per contest to go with 6.3 boards.
The swingman started the year slowly before coming on strong midway through nonconference play, bolstered by a 24-point outburst against Indiana Dec. 2. The Kinston, N.C., native was forced to adjust his game after senior Amile Jefferson’s season-ending foot injury in mid-December—stepping up his production in the rebounding department as the Blue Devils’ unofficial power forward—but still did plenty of damage on the perimeter, hitting 41.0 percent of his 3-pointers.
With Jefferson sidelined, Krzyzewski leaned heavily on Ingram throughout the season—the freshman played 34.6 minutes per game, trailing only sophomore Grayson Allen for the most on the team.
“Brandon Ingram was a special player at Duke this year, and his best basketball is still ahead of him,” Krzyzewski said in a press release. “He is a no-maintenance player who loves the game, has a strong desire to get better and competes every time he steps on the floor. Brandon is also a creative and thoughtful young man who comes from a beautiful family. We’re proud that he’ll always be a member of the Duke basketball family as he pursues an exciting future in professional basketball. I have absolutely loved coaching Brandon.”
Ingram is likely to be one of the top two picks in the NBA draft in June after spending the regular season jockeying with Louisiana State freshman Ben Simmons. At 190 pounds, Ingram will need to fill out his lanky frame as he adjusts to the professional game, but his versatile skill-set will be coveted by all the teams at the top of the draft board.
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