Brandon Ingram Brings Championship Experience To 2015 Nike Hoop Summit
A four-time state champion from Kinston High School in North Carolina, Brandon Ingram was announced on March 30 as the newest member of the 2015 USA Junior National Select Team that will take on the World Select Team in the 18th annual Nike Hoop Summit on April 11 in Portland, Oregon.
Playing on his first USA Basketball team, Ingram has been watching the annual event since one of his predecessors at Kinston High School in North Carolina, Reggie Bullock, helped the USA to an exciting, come-from-behind win in 2010.
“I know it is a blessing to be in this game,” Ingram said. “I always wanted to be in this game. Being from Kinston, I saw Reggie Bullock in this game, and him being one of the former players from my high school. I just knew it was a great opportunity for me.
“It’s always been something that I wanted to do. I’ve watched it on TV so many times.”
All 10 of his USA teammates own previous international gold medals, and they are all players who, at some point, Ingram has played with or against.
In fact, all 11 U.S. team members are in Chicago, Illinois, for the 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game.
“I know all the guys,” Ingram said of his teammates. “We’ve been to a few camps together, and I think it will be very fun. I think we all have good chemistry. We all know our strengths and weaknesses and will be able use it to the best of our abilities.”
Personally, Ingram said his goal is to put forth his best effort.
“On the defensive end, just getting my hands on balls so I can make deflections, bring energy to the team, get buckets and score and just bring leadership to the team,” he explained.“Representing your country, there is nothing better – representing it the right way of course. It is great to be one of the selected players to be at the Nike Hoop Summit, because you just know that the hard work is paying off.”
Though he is a USA Basketball rookie, Ingram will arrive in Portland on the heels of winning a fourth-straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2A state championship. He and teammate Darnell Duncan were the first boys basketball players in NCHSAA history to do so.
“It was just a great experience each year,” Ingram said. “I don’t think as soon as I came in (as a freshman) I was thinking about a state championship, but year after year after year, it got more serious for me. And just being with your childhood friends, accomplishing a thing like that playing for a school that I love was amazing.”
Impressively, three of Ingram’s USA teammates also secured four-peats as high school seniors, including Malik Newman (Callaway H.S., Mississippi 5A) and Bishop Gorman High School teammates Chase Jeter and Stephen Zimmerman (Nevada Division I). And interestingly, Ingram is one of six U.S. players who have yet to decide where to go to college.
He lists Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, North Carolina State, North Carolina and UCLA as his finalists.
“The process has been going good for me,” said Ingram. “I’ve developed a good relationship with every single one of my last choices, and I plan to make a decision by April 21. It is going good with each one of the coaches. That relationship is important to me, so is finding a good team, seeing who is leaving for the draft and where I can make the biggest impact.”
Ingram is not afraid to confirm that he has NBA aspirations beyond college.
“Of course, (the NBA is) my ultimate goal, and not just to get there, but to stay there.”
That goal looms in the future. In the present is figuring out where he will play next year and graduating from high school
“We all know that school work comes first, of course, before any extra curricular activities,” Ingram said as he describes how he balances his time. “I always get that out of the way first. My advice is to be a student first before you are an athlete.”
And after that?
“I know basketball is one of my main priorities, and if I get the chance to make money off something that I love, that would be a great thing.”
Don’t miss your chance to see Ingram and his USA teammates in the 2015 Nike Hoop Summit and stay tuned to usab.com for broadcast information. If you are in the Portland area, get your tickets at usab.com/nikehoopsummit.